Kaiwá language

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Native toArgentina, Brazil
Native speakers
18,000 (2003)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kgk
Extent of the Kaiwá language in the northeast Argentine panhandle shown in teal.

Kaiwá is a Guarani language spoken by about 18,000 Kaiwá people in Brazil in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and 510 people in northeastern Argentina. Literacy is 5-10% in Kaiwá and 15–25% in Portuguese. Kaiwá proper is 70% lexically similar with the Pai Tavytera language, and its similarity to its linguistic cousin Guaraní, one of the two national-languages of Paraguay alongside the Spanish language, means it is even sometimes considered mutually intelligible.[1]



Front Central Back
Close i ĩ ɨ ɨ̃ u ũ
Close-mid e ẽ o õ
Open a ã
  • /e/ can also be heard as [ɛ].


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab.
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced ɡ ɡʷ
prenasal ᵐb ~ m ⁿd ~ n ᶮdʲ ~ ɲ
Fricative v s ʃ h
Rhotic ɾ
Approximant (j) (w)
  • Prenasalized stops can also be heard as nasal sonorants.
  • [w] is heard as an allophone of /v/ or /u/.
  • [j] is heard as an allophone of /i/.[2]

Sample text[edit]

Eregwata-ramo ka'agwy-rupi erehexa gwa'a. Hagwe pytã porã. Oveve áry-rupi gwa'a. Oveve-ramo, "Kaa! Kaa!" he'i. Heta oĩ gwa'a ka'agwy-rupi.[3]

Portuguese translation:[3]

Quando você passeia no mato, você vê a arara. A plumagem dela é dum vermelho bonito. A arara voa no céu. Quando voa, grita "Kaa! Kaa!" Há muitas araras no mato.

Rough English translation:

When you walk in the bush, you see the macaw. The plumage is a beautiful red. The macaw flies in the sky. When it flies, it shouts "Kaa! Kaa!" There are many macaws in the bush.


  1. ^ a b Kaiwá at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Bridgeman, Loraine I. (1961). "Kaiwa (Guarani) Phonology". International Journal of American Linguistics. 27 (4): 329–334. doi:10.1086/464654.
  3. ^ a b Te'ýi nhe'ẽ. 5 Cartilha Kaiwá, pg 2.