Kariri languages

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Native to Brazil
Region between Bahia and Maranhão
Ethnicity Kiriri people
Extinct ca. 1970
  • Karirí
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kzw
Glottolog kari1254  (Kariri)[1]
Kariri languages.png

The Karirí languages, generally considered dialects of a single language, are extinct languages spoken until the middle of the 20th century; the 4,000 ethnic Karirí are now monolingual Portuguese speakers, though a few know common phrases and names of medicinal plants.

The four known Kariri languages are:

There are short grammatical descriptions of Kipeá and Dzubukuá, and word lists for Kamurú and Sabujá. Ribeiro established through morphological analysis that Kariri is likely to be related to the Jê languages.

Other languages called 'Kariri'

The names Kariri and Kiriri were applied to many peoples over a wide area in the east of Brazil, in the lower and middle São Francisco River area and further north. Most of their now-extinct languages are too poorly known to classify, but what is recorded does not suggest that they were all members of the Kariri family. Examples are:


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kariri". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • RIBEIRO, Eduardo. (2002) 'O marcador de posse alienavel em Kariri: um morfema macro-je revisitado'. Revista Liames, 2: 31-48.
  • Alain Fabre, 2005, Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos: KARIRI[1]