Timbira language

Native to Brazil
Region Maranhão, Pará, Tocantins
Native speakers
5,000  (2006–2008)[1]
  • Ge
    • Northwest
      • Timbira
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
ram – Canela (Apanjekra, Ramkokamekra)
xre – Kreye (Krenje, Taje)
xra – Krahô
xri – Krikati-Timbira
gvp – Parakatêjê (Pará Gavião, Pukobje)

Timbira is a dialect continuum of Ge languages of Brazil. The various tribal dialects are distinct enough to sometimes be considered separate languages. The principal varieties, Krahô [2] (Craó), and Kanela [2] (Canela), have 2000 speakers apiece, few of whom speak Portuguese. Kreye, however, is nearly extinct, with only 30 speakers in 1995.


Loukotka (1968) divides the Timbira tribes into two groups, Timbirá (Canela) and Krao. The majority are included under Timbira:

Timbira (Canela)
Mehin, Tajé (Timbirá), Kreapimkatajé (Krepúnkateye), Krenjé (Krẽyé), Remkokamekran (Remako-Kamékrere, Merrime), Aponegicran (Apáñekra), Krenkatajé (Canella, Kenkateye), Sakamekran (Chacamecran, Mateiros), Purekamekran, Makamekran (Pepuxi), Apinagé, Karaho (Carauau), Menren (Gaviões, Augutjé – only a few words known), Meitajé
Krahó, Krikati (Krikatajé), Piokobjé (Bucobu, Pukobje, Paicogê), Kapiekran

Apart from Kapiekran, all Krao varieties are recognized by the ISO. Under the Timbira group, Loukotka included several purported languages for which nothing is recorded: Kukoekamekran, Karákatajé, Kenpokatajé, Kanakatayé, Norokwajé (Ñurukwayé). The Poncatagê (Põkateye) are likewise unidentifiable.

Another common convention for division, though geographic rather than linguistic, is Western Timbira (Apinayé alone) vs Eastern Timbira (Canela, Krikatí, Krahô, Gavião, and others).

Gurupy is a river, sometimes used to refer to the Krenye.


  1. ^ Canela (Apanjekra, Ramkokamekra) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Kreye (Krenje, Taje) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Krahô at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Krikati-Timbira at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Parakatêjê (Pará Gavião, Pukobje) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh

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