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Apurinã language


Dec 14, 2021

Apurinã, or Ipurina, is a Southern Maipurean language spoken by the Apurinã people of the Amazon basin. It has an active–stative syntax.[2] Apurinã is a Portuguese word used to describe the Popikariwakori people and their language (Facundes 34, 2000). Apurinã indigenous communities are predominantly found along the Purus River, in the Northwestern Amazon region in Brazil, in the Amazonas state (Pickering 2, 2009). Its population is currently spread over twenty-seven different indigenous lands along the Purus River (Apurinã PIB). with an estimated total population of 9,500 people. It is predicted, however, that fewer than 30% of the Apurinã population can speak the language fluently (Facundes 35, 2000). A definite number of speakers cannot be firmly determined because of the regional scattered presence of its people. The spread of Apurinã speakers to different regions was initially caused by conflict or disease, which has consequently led natives to lose the ability to speak the language for lack of practice and also because of interactions with other communities.

Arawakan language spoken in Brazil
Native to Brazil
Region Amazon basin
Native speakers
2,800 (2006)[1]

  • Southern
Language codes
ISO 639-3 apu
Glottolog apur1254
ELP Apuriná
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.

Also, as a consequence of violence and oppression towards indigenous people, some natives and descendants choose to not identify themselves as indigenous, further reducing the number of people categorized as speaking the language (Facundes 23, 2000). The low transmission and cultivation of the language result in the risk of endangerment. The endangerment level of Apurinã is currently at level 3 (Facundes 4, 2000), which means that although adults still speak the language, children are no longer being exposed to it. Because they are taught Portuguese or Spanish instead, a further reduction in the number of people that speak the language could occur over the years, eventually leading it to become extinct.

. . . Apurinã language . . .

Facundes’ dissertation (2000) refers to the use of independent pronouns in the Apurina language. They encode gender, person, or number or often a combination of all three and can stand alone or follow a verb or proposition. As the table below shows, there are four singular independent pronouns and three plural independent pronouns. As the examples demonstrate, pronouns can be used in a sentence for both the subject and the object (345, 2000).

Person and gender Pronoun forms
1 nota ata
2 pite hĩte
3M uwa unawa
3F owa

nhi-nhipolo-ta nota

1SG-eat-VBLZ 1S

“I did eating”

pi-nhipolo-ta pita

2SG-eat-VBLZ 2SG

“You did eating”

o-nhipolo-ta owa

2SG-eat-VBLZ 2SG

“She/it did eating”

In the above examples, Facundes (2000) demonstrates the use of pronouns ‘nhi’ ‘pi’, ‘o’, as shown in the example to start the verb ‘nhipolo-ta’.

Causative sentences have the suffix –ka, as described by Facundes (310, 2000), and can be used with both transitive and intransitive verbs. The examples below show the use of the causative marker being used in both transitive and intransitive verbs.

Intransitive: the verb nhipokota
nhi-nhipokota-ka1-ka2-ta-ru (M)


“I made him do eating”

Transitive: the verb nhika



“I am making him eat capybara”

The causative morpheme ‘–ka2 has the same function in both transitive and intransitive verbs. The difference is the position in the sentence. The change in position depends on whether the verb is a class1 verb or a class2 verb. In brief, class1 verbs have bound formatives attaching to the base0 to form base1, thus making base1 a combination between base0 and the bound class1 formative (Facundes 308, 2000). Subsequently, class2 verbs attach to base1 to form base2. Class2 verbs however, differ from class1 in that the verbalizer marker –ta is not necessary.

In class1 formatives, the verb is followed by the dependent verbalizer marker –ta, as seen in the above examples. In class2, the causative marker is ‘–ka3 and does not have a dependent relationship with the base verb (Facundes 325, 2000). The formative marker ‘–ka3 is classified as a class2 verb, but ‘–ka2 belongs in to class1. Examples are provided by Facundes (507,2000) for the location of ‘‘–ka2 as a causative marker.

amaruru n-unama-ka2-namu-ta
boy 1S-sleep-CAUS-PROG-VBLZ
“I am making the kid sleep”

nhi-nhika-ka2-ru yapa
I made him eat capybara”

In the first example, ‘amaruru’ is the causee, and ‘n’ is the causer. By adding a causative marker, the monovalent verb becomes bivalent. Similarly, in the example below, nhi’’ is the causer, and ‘‘ru’ is the causee, which causes a bivalent verb to become a trivalent verb.

. . . Apurinã language . . .

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. . . Apurinã language . . .