Yao language (Trinidad)

Native to Trinidad, French Guiana
Era 17th century
  • Venezuelan Carib
    • Yao–Tiverikoto ?
      • Yao
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog yaoa1239[1]

Yao (Jaoi, Yaoi, Yaio, Anacaioury) is an extinct Cariban language of Trinidad and French Guiana, attested in a single 1640 word list recorded by Joannes de Laet. It is thought that the Yao people migrated from the Orinoco to the islands perhaps a century earlier, after the Kaliña.[2] The name 'Anacaioury' is that of a number of chiefs encountered over a century or so.

Yao is too poorly attested to classify within Cariban with any confidence, though Terrence Kaufman links it to the extinct Tiverikoto.[3] A few of the attested words are:

nonna or noene 'moon', weyo 'sun', capou 'céu', chirika 'star', pepeïte 'wind', kenape 'rain', soye 'earth', parona 'sea', ouapoto 'fire', aroua 'jaguar', pero 'dog' (from Spanish)


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Yao". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Tassinari (2003) No Bom da Festa, p 122–125
  3. ^ Kaufman, Terrence (1994). Moseley, Christopher; Asher, R.E., eds. Atlas of the World's Languages. New York: Routledge. pp. 73–74. ISBN . 

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