Carib or Kari'nja is a Cariban language spoken by the Kalina people (Caribs) of South America. It is spoken by around 7,400 people mostly in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil. The language is currently classified as highly endangered.
|Native to||Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, the Guianas, Suriname, and Brazil|
Ethnic Kali'na populations
The language is known by several names to both its speakers and outsiders. Traditionally it has been known as "Carib" or "Carib proper" in English, after its speakers, called the "Caribs" in English. It is known Caribe in Spanish, Galina in French, and Karaïeb in Dutch. However, the speakers call themselves Kalina or Karìna (variously spelled), and call their language Karìna auran [kaɽiɁnʲauɽaŋ]. Other variants include Kali'na, Kari'nja, Cariña, Kariña, Kalihna, Kalinya; other native names include Maraworno and Marworno.
|Era||17th – early 20th centuries|
|ISO 639-3||None (|
Due to contact with Kari'nja invaders, some languages have Kari'nja words incorporated into them, despite being Arawakan languages linguistically. A Carib-based lengua generale was once used in the old missions of the Oyapock and surrounding regions, apparently surviving at least along the Uaçá tributary into the 20th century.
In Suriname, there is an area called Konomerume which is located near the Wajambo River. With about 349 people living there, a majority identify as ethnically Kari'nja and as for who knows the language, the adults are reported to at least have a decent knowledge of it. Those above the age of 65 use the language as a primary language among the members of the community. Speakers between the ages of 45 and 65 tend to use the language only when speaking with older residents or elder members of their family, while for the most part using the official languages: Dutch and Sranan Tongo. Younger adults between the ages of 20 to 40 for the most part understand the language but do not speak it, and children learn bits about Kari'nja in school.
Carib dialects (with number of speakers indicated in parentheses):
- Venezuelan Carib (1000)
- Guyanese Carib (2000)
- Western Surinamese Carib (500)
- Eastern Surinamese and French Guianese Carib (3000)
- Suriname has two dialects of Kari'nja: Aretyry which is spoken in the west and central parts of the country, and Tyrewuju which is what the majority of Kari'nja speakers in Suriname use.
In the Kari'nja language, there are four syllable patterns: V, CV, VC, CVC; C standing for consonants while V means a vowel. Regarding phonemes, consonants are divided into two groups: obstruents (voiceless stops—p, t, k) and resonants (voiced stops—b, d, g, s).
Kari'nja has a typical 6 vowel system after *ô merged with *o, being a e i o u ï. Compared to past Kari'nja, the modern day Kari'nja has replaced the e in many words to o.
There are 17 particles within Kari'nja which include the ky- prefix and the -ng suffix.
Allophones for /r w t/ include sounds as /ɽ β,v tʃ/. /s/ before /i/ may be pronounced as /ʃ/. /n/ before a consonant may be pronounced as /ŋ/ and also /ɲ/ elsewhere. Another sound, ranging /h~x/, often occurs before a voiced or voiceless consonant, and succeeding a vowel, it can also be an allophone of /ʔ/.
All four dialects of Kari'nja have loan words from the primary language of the area (Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana). For example, the Kari'nja spoken in Suriname borrows words from Dutch and Sranantongo.
|'one that has been dug'||Ø-atoka-apo|
|'one that has burnt'||i-tjoroty-ypo|
- Carib at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Galibi Carib". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Alain Fabre, Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos. ARAWAK, p.62
- Carlin, Eithne B.; Léglise, Isabelle; Migge, Bettina; Fat, Paul B. Tjon Sie (2014-11-28). In and Out of Suriname: Language, Mobility and Identity. BRILL. ISBN 9789004280120.
- Courtz, Henk (2008). A Carib Grammar and Dictionary (PDF). Magoria Books. p. 1. ISBN 0978170768. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "Did you know Kari'nja is threatened?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pidgin Carib". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Gildea, Spike (May 2010). "The Story of *ô in the Cariban Family" (PDF).
- Yamada, Racquel-María (2014). "Training in the Community-Collaborative Context: A Case Study" (PDF). University of Oklahoma.
- Grimes, Joseph (1972). "Languages of the Guianas" (PDF). Benjamin F. Elson.
- Yamada, Racquel-María (2011-01-01). "A New Approach to ky- and -ng in Kari'nja: Evidentiality or Something Else?". International Journal of American Linguistics. 77 (1): 59–89. doi:10.1086/657328. ISSN 0020-7071.
- "Patient Nominalization > Passive in Panare and Ye'kwana (Cariban)" (PDF). voice-systems-workshop.wdfiles.com. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- Ka'lina (Carib) Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database)
- Surinamese Carib - English Online Dictionary
- Audio resources from the MPI-PL archive for linguistic resources, which origin from data collected by dr. Berend Hoff in the period 1955-1965
- How to count in Kali’na
- A video of someone speaking Kari'nja is also available here.
- Endangered Languages Kari'nja profile
- Kari'nja main clauses vs nominalized phrases
- Formal Teaching of Kari'nja
- Carib Phonology
- JSTOR 1264257 The Carib Language
- ELAR archive of Kari'nja Dictionary and Video Documentation