Wany Bernardete de Araujo Sampaio
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Wany Bernardete de Araujo Sampaio Centro de Estudos da Linguagem Grupo de Estudos em Culturas, Educação e Linguagens. Universidade Federal de Rondônia – Brasil [email protected] The Tupi-Kawahib Languages: A Phylogenetic Systematics based comparative study [1].

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1 s ntese de tese de doutorado em ling stica 2001

Wany Bernardete de Araujo SampaioCentro de Estudos da Linguagem Grupo de Estudos em Culturas, Educação e Linguagens.Universidade Federal de Rondônia – [email protected] Tupi-Kawahib Languages: A Phylogenetic Systematics based comparative study[1]

[1]Síntese de Tese de Doutorado em Lingüística (2001).

Universidade Federal de Rondônia. Brasil.

Orientador: Prof. Dr. Mario Alberto Cozzuol



  • Comparative study of Tupi-Kawahib languages, Tupi-Guarani Family.

  • Tenharim, parintintin, juma, diahoi, karipuna, uru-eu-uau-uau e amondava; Kayabi (like a hypothesis to be tested)

    Initial Studies:

  • Masters Degree - Lingüistics (Sampaio: 1997),

  • Comparative analysis: phonologic end lexical levels (parintintin, tenharim, uru-eu-uau-uau e amondava):

  • Phonetic similarities: 80.875%

  • Phonemic similarities: 86.375%

  • Conclusion: these languages are varieties of a single language (dialects).

A classification problem

A Classification Problem



  • To compare the percentage of similarity among tenharim, parintintin, uru-eu-uau-uau, amondava, diahói, juma, karipuna and kayabi;

  • To analyse the phylogenetic relationships among these laguages;

  • To discuss previous classifications of Tupi-Kawahib languages;

  • To propose a phylogenetic classification of these languages, based on lexical data comparison, using Phylogenetic Systematics methodology.

  • To elaborate a hypothesis about the kinships of the Tupi-Kawahib languages, observing the distancing in the phylogenetic sequence;

  • To test the hypothesis: the phylogenetic relationships point to the existence af a common ancestor to the members of one linguistic group.



a) Comparative Linguistics: phonostatistics and lexicostatistics

  • To measure the percentage of similarities among the languages. (intercomprehension)

    b) Phylogenitic Systematics (Comparative Biology):

  • To measure the percentage of similarities among the languages.

  • To define the sequence of differentiation among the probable Kawahib varieties, which allows us to propose a phylogenetic classification for such varieties

  • To contribute to the discussion on the geographical dispersion of this linguistic group.



  • Scientific:

  • a new discussion about the proposed classification for Tupi-Kawahib languages;

  • explore a different methodology, the Phylogenetic Systematics, which features a practice of interdisciplinarity;

  • Social:

  • indigenous school education;

  • more certainty in the proposition of learning resources, especially those for reading and writing in mother tongue.

Origin of data



  • Languages of the internal group

  • Parintintin, tenharim, uru-eu-uau-uau: Betts & Pease

  • Uru-eu-uau-uau, amondava: Sampaio; da Silva Sinha et al.

  • Diahoi and karipuna: Sampaio and Bezerra

  • Juma: Betts & Pease (1977) and Abrahamson (1963);

  • Kayabi: Dobson (1988).

  • Languages of the external group:

  • Wayampi: Jensen (1984)

  • Tembé: Sampaio (1995) (Pará - Emilio Goeldi Museum).

  • Bibliography about languages in question.

Geographical localization


  • People of internal group:

    a) Tapajós-Madeira: parintintin, tenharim, diahoi, kaiabi

    b) Juruá, Jutaí, Purus: juma

    c) Rondônia: karipuna, uru-eu-uau-uau and amondava

  • People of external group:

  • Area Southeastern of Pará: tembé

  • Area Amapa - North Pará: wayampi

Cultural commonalities


Social Organization: based on exogamous marriage and division into two “clans” (moitiés); called by name of birds.

  • Uru-eu-uau-uau and amondava:

    Mutum (Mutua) and Arara (Kanindea);

  • Tenharim, parintintin and diahoi:

    Gavião (Kwandu) and Mutum (Mytu);

  • Karipuna:

    Tucano (Tukanahua) and Mutum (Mytu);

  • Juma:

    Mutum (Mutua); Arara (Kanindea)

Social organization by a child amondava

Social organization (by a child amondava)

1 s ntese de tese de doutorado em ling stica 2001

  • patrilineal descent;

  • matrilateral complementary filiation;

  • levirate - inheritance of the wife by the brother of her deceased husband;

  • fraternal polyandry – husband can loan his wife(s) to his brother.

  • patrilocal residence;

  • they don´t use tobacco at the time of the first contacts;

  • none of them grows tobacco currently.

  • facial tatoo;

  • kinship structure determines the onomastic of the group.

  • burial of the dead

  • a good spirit: Tupanangá and an opponent: Mbahira.

  • use of flutes made with “taboca”;

  • Yrerua ritual dance;

  • food and beverages, rituals (mbotawa and chicha)



Methods of comparative linguistics



10 lists with 200 words (10 languages) = 2.000 words

Inspection Methodology

  • Phonetic similarities among the compared languages.

    Sincronic point of view:

  • degree of intercomprehention between languages;

  • the more these languages are similar to each other, the more probable it is that they originated from the same language.

    Methods used in computing the similarities:

  • Deibler e Trefry (1963, apud Sanders, 1986: 35)

  • Carrol Dyen (1962; id.: 36).

Deibler and trefry method

Deibler and Trefry method

Traditional comparative analyses:

  • Compare lists of words in pairs, one word at a time, a phoneme at a time.

    Principle of analysis:

  • association of phonostatistics with lexicostatístics.

    Computing data and calculating the percentage of similarities:

  • equal words (4);

  • words with only one different phoneme(3);

  • words with two different phonemes (2);

  • words with tree or more different phonemes, but considered cognates(1);

  • not cognate words (0);

  • not available data (-); (not considered in determining the comparison).

Percentage of phonetic similarities and degree of intercomprehension

Percentage of phonetic similarities and degree of intercomprehension

Phonostatistical results

Phonostatistical Results

Criterion to determine the intercomprehension: 50%

  • Tenharim, parintintin, uru-eu-uau-uau, amondava, karipuna, diahoi e juma belong to a single linguistic group.

  • Distance of 50%:

  • Karipuna e diahoi (34.5%);

  • Juma e diahoi (47. 3%).

    Are there 2 groups into the internal group?

  • Kayabi, tembé and wayampi appear as belonging to another group of interrelated languages.

Carrol dyen method

Carrol Dyen method

Consider the global similarities.

Principle of analysis:

  • lexicostatistics.

    Comparative basis:

  • The language which has the highest number of data. (Tenharim)

  • Criteria for determining the cognates: formal and observable similarities between the words of each set of words.

  • Each set of cognates was taken separately and were assigned code numbers equal for all cognates of the basis language.

  • After the encryption of data, we had a count of codes, to know the total amount allocated for each code, considering the sum of the values in each language.

Percentage of cognates by global similarity

Percentage of cognates by global similarity

Lexicoestatistical results

Lexicoestatistical Results

Considering the global similarities:

  • Code of higher occurrence: 1

  • similarity among the linguistic data compared: 86,10%.

  • This suggests that all these languages have high degree of intercomprehension, belonging, therefore, to a single group.

Phonostatistics x lexicostatistics

Phonostatistics X Lexicostatistics

Each one points in a different direction:

  • Phonostatistics: suggests the existence of at least two distinct groups of languages in the internal group;

  • Lexicostatistics: suggests that all the languages (internal and external group) belong to a single group.

  • Original doubt: are there or not a Tupi-kawahib linguistic group?

  • the percentage of lexical or phonetic similarities between languages is not enough to measure the degree of intercomprehension between them;

  • throughout the history of Linguistics, these criteria have been used without major challenges, both for the classification of varieties language, and for the development of studies aimed to the classification and historic reconstruction of languages.

Phylogenetic systematics


  • Compare the similarities of the characters of languages among themselves.

  • Coding number of words: assignment of a numerical symbol for each state of a different character in the series of transformation; the codification can inform about the natural ordination between the states of a character

  • The coding was optimized by a computer program of cladistic analysis.

  • The numerical matrix was then submitted to the ordination of the characters, weigh them and choose a type of parsimony in the optimization of the characters shared.

  • For the parsimony analysis of the data, we used the program Hennig 86 (James Farris, 1988) and the program Tree Gardner 2.2 (Tiago Courrol Ramos, 1997).

  • The analysis provided the search for a tree representation, which reflects the optimization of the matrix number

  • The tree obtained was adopted as the best chance for the interpretation of the phylogenetic relationships among the languages studied.



1 s ntese de tese de doutorado em ling stica 2001

PHONOSTATISTICAL PHENOGRAM The top scale indicates that the closer to 100, the greater the degree of similarity between the languages..

1 s ntese de tese de doutorado em ling stica 2001

LEXICOSTATISTICAL PHENOGRAM The top scale indicates that the closer to 0.00, the greater the degree of similarity between the languages

Analysing the diagrams

Analysing the diagrams

  • the results represented by the phylogenetic tree are compatible with the both results of phonostatistic and lexicostatistic phenograms, when submitted to computer analysis of clusters.

  • phonostatistics and lexicostatistics analysis, using traditional methods of Comparative Linguistics, have brought us different results:

  • Phonostatistics: two different language groups ;

  • Lexicostatistics: only one linguistic group.

  • Phylogenetic analysis shows that all languages of the internal group belong to one lineage.

Final considerations


  • The languages Tupi-Kawahib - among those studied - are: juma, tenharim, parintintin, diahoi, karipuna, uru-eu-uau-uau and amondava; ;

  • Considering the evolutionary sequence, juma was the first language to separate from the others within the group Tupi-Kawahib, followed by tenharim and parintintin; uru-eu-uau-uau and amondava; karipuna and diahoi

  • All these languages, belonging to the group Tupi-Kawahib, originates from a single ancestral language;

  • All ethnic groups, users of languages here postulated as Tupi-Kawahib, come from a single ancestral ethnic group that has been split successively in the course of time;

  • The divisions in the group contributed to the divisions in the language.

  • The synapomorphies between the languages of the group Tupi-Kawahib allow us to refine the hypothesis about their relations of kinship, classifying them as languages closely linked evolutionarily.



University of Portsmouth

  • Dr. Chris Sinha

    Lund University

  • Dr. Alf Hornborg

    University of Rondônia

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