Apinayé language

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Region Brazil
Native speakers
1,300 (2003)[1]
    • Northwest
      • Apinayé
Language codes
ISO 639-3 apn
Glottolog apin1244[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Apinayé (otherwise known as Apinagé, Apinajé) currently an endangered language is a Subject–object–verb Jê language spoken in Tocantins, Eastern Central Brazil by some 1529 speakers of Apinajé people.[3] There are six villages that speak the Apinajé language.

Historical Events Leading to Endangerment[edit]

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century the Apinayé had a successful economic growth fueled by extensive cattle farming and the extraction of babaù palm oil which brought an increase in migration.


The consonant and vowel inventory follows.


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless stop p t c k ʔ
Voiced nasal m n ɲ ŋ  
Voiced oral v r z    


Front Central / back
Non-rounded Rounded
Oral Nasal Oral Nasal Oral Nasal
Close i ĩ ɯ ɯ̃ u ũ
Close-mid ɛ ɛ̃ ʌ ʌ̃ ɔ ɔ̃
Low   a ã  

Just as in Mebengokre, there are underlying nasal vowels which surface independent of the nasal consonants.

Syllable structure[edit]


The onset is optional in Apinayé, but when it exists it may be any consonant from the inventory. C1C2V(C)-type syllables, where C2 is a voiced [+cont] semivowel or liquid are very common. CCC onsets are always /kvr/or /ŋvr/


All consonants other than /ŋ, ʔ/ are permitted in the coda.[4] Note also that the possible syllable types are identical to what we find in Mebengokre, except for those in which there are /ʔ/-initial complex onsets.


  1. ^ Apinayé at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Apinaye". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/lang/apn
  4. ^ Burgess, Eunice; Ham, Patricia (1968). "Multilevel conditioning of phoneme variants in Apinayé". Linguistics. 41. doi:10.1515/ling.1968.6.41.5. 

External links[edit]