Mamaindê language

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Northern Nambikwara
Native to Brazil
Region Mato Grosso
Native speakers
250 (2009)[1]
350  (2007)[2]
  • Mamaindê
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
wmd – Mamaindé proper
ltn – Latundê
lkd – Lakondê
xtw – Tawandê
xyl – Yalakalore
apv – Alapmunte
Glottolog nort3153[3]

Mamaindê, also known as Northern Nambikwara, is a Nambikwaran language spoken in the Mato Grosso state of Brazil, in the very north of the indigenous reserve, Terra Indígena Vale do Guaporé, between the Pardo and Cabixi Rivers. In the southern part of the reserve, speakers of Sabanê and Southern Nambikwara are found.[4]


Among the Nambikwaran languages, at least Northern (Mamainde), Southern (Nambikwara), and Sabane are mutually unintelligible. Mamainde, however, is a dialect cluster, and its varieties are sometimes considered distinct languages. The following distinctions are made by Eberhard (2009). Population figures are those of Ethnologue 16, dated 2007:

  • Mamaindê proper (including Nagarotê, 330 speakers)
  • Latundê (20)
  • Lakondê (1)
  • Tawaindê (or Da’wan’du; unattested and speakers unknown)
  • Yalakalore (extinct and unattested)
  • Yalapmunde (Alapmunte; extinct and unattested)

Yelelihre is another unattested Nambikwaran variety.


The following description is based on Mamaindê proper.


Mamaindê has five vowels:[5]

Front Back
Unrounded Rounded
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open a

Each of the vowels have a nasalized counterpart.


Mamaindê has 14 consonants:[6]

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive Plain p t k ʔ
Fricative s h
Approximant l j w



  1. ^ Eberhard 2009, p. v
  2. ^ Ethnologue: Mamaindé
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Northern Nambiquaran". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Eberhard 2009, p. 4
  5. ^ Eberhard 2009, pp. 96–97
  6. ^ Eberhard 2009, p. 52