Jamamadí language

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Native to Amazonas State, Brazil
Ethnicity Jamamadi, Banawá, Jarawara
Native speakers
800 (2006)[1]
  • Madí
  • Jarawara
  • Banawa
  • Jamamadi
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jaa
Glottolog jama1261[2]

Madí—also known as Jamamadí (Yamamadí, Yamamandi, Yamadi) after one of its dialects, and also Kapaná or Kanamanti (Canamanti)—is an Arawan language spoken by about 800 Jamamadi, Banawá, and Jarawara people scattered over Amazonas, Brazil.

The language has an active–stative clause structure with an agent–object–verb or object–agent–verb word order, depending on whether the agent or object is the topic of discussion (AOV appears to be the default).[3]

The dialects of Jamamadi that are or were once spoken include Bom Futuro, Pauini, Mamoria, Cuchudua, Jaruára (Jarawara, Yarawara), Kitiya (Banawá, Banawa Yafi, Jafí), and Tukurina. Pama, Sewacu, Sipo, and Yuberi were either dialects or closely related languages.


The phonology is illustrated here with the Jarawara dialect:


Front Back
High i iː
Mid e eː o oː
Low a aː


Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive b t ɟ k (ʔ)
Nasal m n
Fricative ɸ s
Liquid r
Semivowel w

The glottal stop [ʔ] has a limited distribution.

The liquid /r/ may be realized as a trill [r], flap [ɾ], or lateral [l]. The palatal stop /ɟ/ may be realized as a semivowel [j].

The glottal fricative /h̃/ is nasalized. See rhinoglottophilia.


  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1. 
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (1995). "Fusional development of gender marking in Jarawara possessed nouns". International Journal of American Linguistics. 61: 263–294. doi:10.1086/466256. 
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2000). "A-constructions and O-constructions in Jarawara". International Journal of American Linguistics. 66: 22–56. doi:10.1086/466405. 
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2003). "The eclectic morphology of Jarawara, and the status of word". In R. M. W. Dixon & Alexandra Y. Alkhenvald. Word: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2004). The Jarawara language of Southern Amazonia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-927067-8. 
  • Dixon, R. M. W.; Vogel, A. R. (1996). "Reduplication in Jarawara". Languages of the World. 10: 24–31. 
  • Everett, Caleb (2012). "A Closer Look at a Supposedly Anumeric Language". International Journal of American Linguistics. 78: 575–590. doi:10.1086/667452. 
  • Kaufman, Terrence (1994). "The native languages of South America". In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher. Atlas of the world's languages. London: Routledge. pp. 46–76. 
  • Vogel, Alan (2009). "Covert Tense in Jarawara". Linguistic Discovery. 7. doi:10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.333. 


  1. ^ Madí at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Jamamadi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Dixon, "Arawá", in Dixon & Aikhenvald, eds., The Amazonian Languages, 1999.

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