Annotated Swadesh wordlists for the Tuparí group (Tupían family).

Languages included: Wayoró [tpr-wyr]; Akuntsú [tpr-aku]; Makuráp [tpr-mak]; Mekéns [tpr-mek]; Tuparí [tpr-tpr].



Aragon & Cabral 2005 = Aragon, Carolina Coelho; Cabral, Ana Suelly Arruda Câmara. A posição da língua Akuntsú na família lingüística Tuparí. In: Anais do IV Congresso Internacional da ABRALIN. Brasília: Universidade de Brasília. // An article intending to show that Akuntsú is especially close to Mekéns. A short comparative wordlist for Makuráp, Tuparí, Mekéns, Akuntsú and two non-Tuparí Tupían languages is present.

Moore & Galucio 1993 = Moore, Denny; Galucio, Ana Villacy. Reconstruction of Proto-Tupari consonants and vowels. In: Report 8. Survey of California and other Indian languages. Proceedings of the Meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous languages of the Americas (July 2-4, 1993) and the Hokan-Penutian Workshop (July 3, 1993) both held at the 1993 Linguistic Institute at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio (eds. Margaret Langdon and Leanne Hinton). Columbus: Ohio State University. // An attempt at the reconstruction of Proto-Tuparí phonology. 124 items are reconstructed. Wayoró, Makuráp, Mekéns and Tuparí data are taken into account.

Galucio & Nogueira 2011 = Galucio, Ana Vilacy; Nogueira, Antonia Fernanda. Comparative study of the Tupari branch of the Tupi family: contributions to understanding its historical development and internal classification. Memorias del V Congreso de Idiomas Indígenas de Latinoamérica, 6-8 de octubre de 2011, Universidad de Texas en Austin. Austin: University of Texas. // A revision of Moore and Galucioʼs Proto-Tuparí reconstruction. No wordlist is present; only some isolated data from all five extant languages are cited.

Sekelj = Comparative wordlist collected by the Yugoslavian journalist and lawyer Tibor Sekelj during his expedition to the Rio Branco (Rondônia, Brazil) in February-April 1948. Contains Aruá, Makuráp, Djeoromitxí, Arikapú and Tuparí data. The transcription quite precisely matches later descriptions.

I. Wayoró

Nogueira 2011 = Nogueira, Antonia Fernanda de Souza. Wayoro ẽmẽto: fonologia segmental e morfossintaxe verbal. MA thesis. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo. // A description of Wayoró phonology and verbal morphosyntax. No glossary is found; the lexical material is either extracted from the glossed examples or found in isolation.

II. Akuntsú

Aragon 2014 = Aragon, Carolina Coelho. A grammar of Akuntsú, a Tupían language. PhD thesis. Mānoa: University of Hawaiʼi at Mānoa. // A reference grammar of Akuntsú. No glossary is found; the lexical material is either extracted from the glossed examples or found in isolation. Occasionally data of other Tuparían languages are cited. Contains data on the Kampé dialect of Mekéns.

Aragon 2008 = Aragon, Carolina Coelho. Fonologia e aspectos morfológicos e sintáticos da língua Akuntsú. MA thesis. Brasília: Universidade de Brasília. // A description of Akuntsú phonology and some grammatical aspects. No glossary is found; the lexical material is either extracted from the glossed examples or found in isolation.

Aragon & Carvalho 2007 = Aragon, Carolina Coelho; Carvalho, Fernando Orphão de. Análise acústica das vogais orais da língua Akuntsú. In: Revista da ABRALIN 6(2). // A short article on the acoustic characteristics of Akuntsú oral vowels. Some isolated words are quoted.

III. Makuráp

Braga 1992 = Braga, Alzerinda de Oliveira. A fonologia segmental e aspectos morfofonológicos da língua Makurap (Tupi). MA thesis. Campinas: UNICAMP. // A description of Makuráp phonology. Sentences are virtually absent, hence all the words are quoted in isolation, without any context.

IV. Mekéns

Galucio 2001 = Galucio, Ana Vilacy. The morphosyntax of Mekens (Tupi). PhD thesis. Chicago: University of Chicago. // A description of the Mekéns morphosyntax. No glossary is found; the lexical material is either extracted from the glossed examples or found in isolation.

Galucio 2002 = Galucio, Ana Vilacy. Word order and constituent structure in Mekens. In: Revista da ABRALIN 1(2). // A short article on some aspects of Mekéns syntax. Some glossed sentences are found.

Galucio 2011 = Galucio, Ana Vilacy. Nominalization in the Mekens language. In: AMERINDIA 35. // A short article on Mekéns nominalizations containg some glossed examples.

Galucio 2009 = Ana Galucioʼs comments on Mekéns quantifiers, available online at <>.

Hanke et al. 1958 = Hanke, Wanda; Swadesh, Morris; Rodrigues, Aryon DallʼIgna. Notas de fonologia Mekens. In: Revista Brasileira de Linguística Antropológica 3(2), 2011. (Originally published in 1958 in: Miscellanea Paul Rivet octogenario dicata 2 (org. Juan Comas). México.) // A pioneer description of Mekéns phonology with a vocabulary collected mostly by Wanda Hanke in 1949.

V. Tuparí

Alves 2004 = Alves, Poliana Maria. O léxico em Tuparí: proposta de um dicionário bilíngue. (PhD thesis.) Araraquara: Universidade Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita", Câmpus de Araraquara. // A thesis containing a grammar sketch and a dictionary of Tuparí. Most entries are accompanied with grammatical information and usage examples.

ZSTI = Caspar, Franz; Rodrigues, Aryon DallʼIgna. Zur Sprache der Tuparí-Indianer (Westbrasilien). // A grammar sketch of Tuparí. Unpublished. Also contains a dictionary which, however, was not considered here.

Singerman 2015 = Adam Singermanʼs comments on Tuparí numerals, available online at <>.


I. Wayoró.

Nowadays the distribution of the Wayoró ethnic group is confined to the Terra Indígena Rio Guaporé (Guajará-Mirim municipality of Rondônia, Brazil) and Rolim de Moura do Guaporé (Alta Floresta dʼOeste municipality of Rondônia, Brazil). Their traditional area was located to the south-east of upper Rio Branco and included upper Colorado and upper Terebito (Terevinto).

The Wayoró numbered 215 in 2011; only 5 of them were fluent speakers.

The transcription used here differs from the phonemic transcription in [Nogueira 2011] only in that the former denotes the oral and pre-nasalized allophones of the phonemes analyzed as nasal by Nogueira, apart from allophonic nasalization. Moore and Galucioʼs analysis is modified to match the analysis by Nogueira.

II. Akuntsú.

The Akuntsú people are a group of 5 or 6 people living in the Terra Indígena Rio Omerê (southeastern Rondônia, Brazil).

The phonemic representations of the words in [Aragon & Cabral 2005] include the phoneme ɔ; [Aragon & Carvalho 2007] demonstrates that ɔ is a variant of the phoneme a. Some Akuntsú consonants are also subject to significant free variation; in all such cases the voiceless allophone is preferred for representation in UTS (including for {kʷ, gʷ, w}). Allophonic nasalization of the vowels is systematically noted. o is preferred over u, ɲ is prefered over (syllable-initially). The stress position is noted (if known). Cosmetic changes (j > y, tʃ > č) are not numerous. Aragon [2014] recognizes that in some cases b, g, w are phonemic, whereas in other cases they are in free variation with p, k, kʷ.

III. Makuráp.

The Makurap live in the Terra Indígena Rio Guaporé and in the Terra Indígena Rio Branco in Rondônia, Brazil. Makuráp used to be the language of interethnic communication in the area and is still the most spoken indigenous language of the region (no less than 30 fluent speakers). Ethnic Makuráp population totals 478 people (2010).

The differences between Braga's transcription and UTS are minimal (allophonic realization of the nasal phonemes, ɛ for e, word-final ʔ, cosmetic changes like j > y, > č). Moore and Galucio's transcription does not differ significantly from Braga's.

IV. Mekéns.

The Mekéns population (auto-identified as Sakurabiat) totals 161 people, living in the Terra Indígena Rio Mequens. 23 people still speak Mekéns, the new generation is not learning the language.

Three dialects are known: Sakɨrabiat (spoken by the Sakɨrabiat and Guarategayat subroups), Guaratira and Kampé (Siwkweriat). The latter dialect is spoken by only one elderly person. Some data on Kampé are found in [Aragon 2014]. No case of lexical divergence between Kampé and Mekéns within the Swadesh list has been attested; it seems secure to fill the slots with Kampé data when Mekéns data are not available.

The transcription is designed in order to reconcile the sources. s and c are normalized to s, o and u to o, e and ɛ to ɛ.

V. Tuparí

The Tupari population adds up to 517 people, living principally in the Terra Indígena Rio Branco, with some in the Terra Indígena Rio Guaporé. There are speakers of the language in both areas, but we only have information about the latter, where there are seven fluent speakers, eight semi-fluent speakers, and fifteen passive bilinguals.

The transcription is based on the phonological analysis by Rodrigues ([ZSTI]).


UTS xV VxV xС, x# x-V
p p pʰ ~ p p̚ ~ b
t t t t̚ ~ d, ɟ (after i, ʉ)
k kʰ ~ k, c (before i) kʰ ~ k k̚ ~ g
m m m m
n n n n
ŋ ŋ ŋ
s c ~ s c ~ s
ɾ ɾ ɾ ~ l ɾ
h h
w w ~ v w ~ v

y [j ~ ɲ ~ ɟ] is analyzed as an allophone of i by Rodrigues. It is written as y here.


UTS possible allophones
i i, ĩ
ɛ ɛ, e, ɛ̃
ɛ̃ ɛ̃
ʉ ʉ, ɵ
ʉ̃ ʉ̃
o o, u, õ, ũ
õ, ũ
a a, ã

Oral vowels are optionally nasalized in nasal contexts. The variation for height is free in case of ʉ, o and ; e is an allophone of ɛ before i and optionally word-finally.

Database compiled and annotated by: André Nikulin (August 2016, updated October 2016, July 2017).