Emerillon language

Emerillon (alternate names Emerilon, Emerion, Mereo, Melejo, Mereyo, Teco) is a Tupi–Guarani language spoken in French Guiana on the rivers Camopi and Tampok. The Emerillon people refer to their language as Teke and it is mutually intelligible to Wayampi a language indigenous to French Guiana and Brazil.[3]

RegionFrench Guiana
EthnicityEmerillon people
Native speakers
400 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3eme
Glottologemer1243  Teko[2]

Emerillon is only used along the French Guiana borders with Surinam and Brazil. There are only four hundred Emerillon speakers in the world. Although there are a limited number of speakers, Emerillon is still taught as a first language to children.[3] Its name derives from mereñõ, a name given to members of the Emerillon tribe. They often refer to themselves as the Teko people which translates to "human being" in Wayãpi.[4]


Emerillon is spelt phonetically based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, and not according the French orthography.[5] The spelling uses the letter ɨ for the close central unrounded vowel between i and u.[6] e is always pronounced é, vowels with a tilde are always nasal (ã, , ĩ, õ, ũ), ö is like the German O umlaut, and b is prenounced mb. All letters are pronounced.[6]


  1. ^ Emerillon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Teko". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b Gordon, Mathew; Rose, Franciose (Summer 2006). "Émérillon Stress: A Phonetic and Phonological Study". Anthropological Linguistics: 132–168. JSTOR 25132376.
  4. ^ Dietrich, Wolf (1 January 2013). "Review of Grammaire de l'émérillon teko, une langue tupi-guarani de Guyane française, Françoise Rose". International Journal of American Linguistics. 79 (3): 441–443. doi:10.1086/670927. JSTOR 670927.
  5. ^ Grenand & Grenand 2017, p. 18.
  6. ^ a b Grenand & Grenand 2017, p. 20.