- Cariban languages
Infobox Language family
region= Mostly within north-central South America, with extensions in the southern Caribbean and in Central America.
North Amazonian Carib
South Amazonian Carib
child7=Yukpa The Cariban languages are an indigenous
language familyof South America. Carib languages are widespread across northern South America, from the mouth of the Amazon Riverto the Colombian Andesand from Maracaibo( Venezuela) to Central Brazil. Cariban languages are relatively close to each other; in some cases, it is difficult to decide whether different groups speak different languages or dialects of the same language. Because of this, the exact number of Cariban languages is not known with certainty (current estimates range from 25 to 40, with 20 to 30 still spoken). The Cariban family is well known in the linguistic world due to Hixkaryana, a language with Object-Verb-Subject sentences, previously thought not to exist in human language.
Some years prior to the arrival of the first Spanish
explorers, Carib-speaking peoples had invaded and occupied the Lesser Antilles, killing, displacing or forcibly assimilating the Arawakan peoples who inhabited the islands. They never reached the Greater Antillesor the Bahamas. Curiously, the Carib language quickly died out while the Arawakan language was maintained over the generations. This was the result of the invading Carib men usually killing the local men of the islands they conquered and taking Arawak wives who then passed on their own language to the children. For a time, Arawak was spoken primarily or exclusively by women and children, while adult men spoke Carib. Eventually, as the first generation of Carib-Arawak children reached adulthood, the more familiar Arawak became the only language used in the small island societies. This language was called Island Carib, even though it is not part of the Carib linguistic family. It is now extinct, but was spoken on the Lesser Antillesuntil the 1920's (primarily in Dominica, Saint Vincent, and Trinidad).
The largest Carib languages today are Carib proper, or Galibi, with 10,000 speakers, and
Macushi language, with perhaps 24,000 speakers. The Hixkaryana languageis famous in linguistic typologyfor its unusual word orders.
Garífuna, spoken in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, is known as "Black Carib", it is actually an Arawakan language with Carib influence: At one time men used Carib lexical vocabulary, and women Arawak vocabulary, though both on an Arawak grammatical base, but this distinction has dwindled to only a handful of words.
The Cariban languages are closely related, and in many cases where a language is more distinct, this is due to influence from neighboring languages rather that an indication that it is not closely related. Several classifications are seen; the one shown here divides Cariban into seven branches. A traditional geographic classification into northern and southern branches is cross referenced with (N) or (S) after each language.
[ Kaliña ](N)
*Guiana Carib: Tiriyó [Trio] (N), Carijona (S), Kaxuiâna [Warikyana] (S), Waiwai (N), Hixkaryána (S), Akuriyó (N), Sikiana-Salumá (N), Hianákoto
*North Amazonian Carib: Atruahí [Atrowari, Waimiri] (N), Macushi (N), Pemon [Arekuna] (N), Akawaio [Kapong] (N), Patamona [Ingariko] (N), Pawishiana
*Central Carib: Wayana (N), Apalaí (N), Maquiritari [Dekwana] (S), Mapoyo-Yabarana (N)
*South Amazonian Carib: Bakairí (S), Kuikúro [Kalapálo] (S), Txikão (N), Matipuhy [Nahukwa] (S), Arára [Pará] (N)
*Yukpa: Japrería (N), Yupka (N), ? Coyaima (N)
The Cariban languages share irregular morphology with the Ge and Tupi families, and Ribeiro connects them all in a
List of Spanish words of Indigenous American Indian origin
* [http://www.etnolinguistica.org Etnolinguistica.Org: online resources on native South American languages]
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90634 Ethnologue report for Carib languages]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/Carib Rosetta Project entry]
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cariban — ˈkarəbən, ˌban; kəˈrēb noun ( s) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: Spanish caribán, from caribe Carib 1. a. : a group of Amerindian peoples of northern So. America, the Lesser Antilles, and the Caribbean coast of Hondu … Useful english dictionary
Cariban — noun Date: 1901 1. a member of a group of Indian peoples of South America and the Lesser Antilles 2. the language family comprising the languages of the Cariban peoples … New Collegiate Dictionary
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Cariban — Ca•ri•ban [[t]ˈkær ə bən, kəˈri [/t]] n. peo a family of American Indian languages, many now extinct or moribund, concentrated in the Guiana region of South America, with lesser representation in E Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil S of the Amazon … From formal English to slang
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