Goyaz Jê languages

Goyaz Jê
Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Pará, Maranhão, formerly Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo
Linguistic classificationMacro-Jê

The Goyaz Jê languages (also Northern Jê–Panará[1]:95) are a branch of the Jê languages constituted by the Northern Jê languages and Panará (and its predecessor Southern Kayapó).[2]:14–5 Together with the Akuwẽ (Central Jê) languages, they form the Cerrado branch of the Jê family.



The consonantal inventory of Proto-Goyaz Jê is almost identical to that of Proto-Northern Jê, differing from it in that it had no contrast between and *j and lacked the phoneme */w/. Proto-Goyaz Jê did have the sounds and *j, but they occurred in a complementary distribution at that stage (in stressed and unstressed syllables, respectively). In Proto-Northern Jê, words with */w/ and */j/ (in stressed syllables) have been introduced from unknown sources (possibly via borrowings), as in *wet ‘lizard’, *wewe ‘butterfly’, or *jət ‘sweet potato’.

In Proto-Goyaz Jê, underlying nasals acquired an oral phrase preceding an oral nucleus (this is preserved in all contemporary languages with the exception of Mẽbêngôkre, which no longer has the postoralized allophones of the underlying nasal stops).

labial labial + rhotic dentialveolar palatal velar velar + rhotic
voiceless stops */p/ *[p] */pɾ/ *[pɾ] */t/ *[t] */c/ *[c] */k/ *[k] */kɾ/ *[kɾ]
voiced stops */b/ *[b] (*/d/ *[d]) */g/ (nasal *[ŋ],
oral *[g])
nasal stops */m/
(nasal *[m],
oral *[mb])
(nasal *[mɾ],
oral *[mbɾ])
(nasal *[n],
oral *[nd])
(nasal —,
oral *[ɲɟ])
(nasal *[ŋ],
oral *[ŋg])
(nasal *[ŋɾ],
oral *[ŋgɾ])
sonorants */ɾ/ *[ɾ] */j/ (nasal *[ɲ],
oral & stressed *[ɟ],
oral & unstressed *[j])

The following table shows the usual reflexes of the Proto-Goyaz Jê onsets in Proto-Northern Jê and in Panará.

Proto-Goyaz Jê Proto-Northern Jê Panará
*p */p/ *p */p/ p /p/
*mb */m/ *mb */mb/ np /m/
*m */m/ *m */m/ m /m/
*pr */pɾ/ *pr */pɾ/ pj /pj/, pr /pɾ/
*mbr */mɾ/ *mbr */mɾ/ npj /mj/, npr /mɾ/
*mr */mɾ/ *mr */mɾ/ ?
*b */b/ *b */b/ p /p/
*t */t/ *t */t/ t /t/
*nd */n/ *nd */n/ nt /n/
*n */n/ *n */n/ n /n/
*d */d/ *d */d/ h /∅/
*r */ɾ/ *r */ɾ/ j /j/, r /ɾ/
*c */c/ *c */c/ s /s/
*nĵ */ɲ/ *nĵ */ɲ/ ns /ɲ/
*ñ */j/ *ñ */ɟ/ j /j/
*ĵ */j/ *ĵ */ɟ/ s /s/
*j */j/ *j */ɟ/ j /j/
*k */k/ *k */k/ k /k/
(*kaC- > aC-,
*kaNC- > nãnC-,
*kuC- > [i]CC-
*ŋg */ŋ/ *ŋg /ŋ/ nk /ŋ/
*ŋ */ŋ/ *ŋ /ŋ/ nk /ŋ/
*kr */kɾ/ *kr /kɾ/ kj /kj/, kr /kɾ/
*ŋgr */ŋɾ/ *ŋgr /ŋɾ/ ŋkj /ŋj/
*ŋr */ŋɾ/ *ŋr /ŋɾ/ ŋkj /ŋj/
*g */g/ *g /g/ k /k/


There are phonological and lexical innovations which identify Goyaz Jê as a valid group.

Fortition of */w j/

In the Goyaz Jê languages, Proto-Cerrado *w is mostly reflected as a stop (Panará/Timbira/Apinajé/Kĩsêdjê p, Mẽbêngôkre b; only Tapayúna has w). This has been attributed to the sound change Proto-Cerrado *w > Proto-Goyaz Jê *b.[3]:159 Examples:[2]:451–2, 470

  • Proto-Cerrado *wĩ > Proto-Goyaz Jê *bĩ ‘to kill (singular)’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *waj’ > Proto-Goyaz Jê *ba ‘I (nominative)’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *wê > Proto-Goyaz Jê *bêablative and malefactive’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *jawê > Proto-Goyaz Jê *jabê ‘trustworthy’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *wêkê > Proto-Goyaz Jê *bêkê ‘partridge’.

The fortition of Proto-Cerrado *j in stressed syllables has also been proposed as a defining innovation of Proto-Goyaz Jê.[3]:159

Nasalization of */a u y/

The oral vowels */a u y/ of Proto-Cerrado were nasalized preceding the nasal coda *-m’ in Proto-Goyaz Jê:[3]:164[2]:88

  • Proto-Cerrado *kumtym’ > Proto-Goyaz Jê *kũmtỹm ‘capybara’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *tum’ > Proto-Goyaz Jê *tũm ‘old’, etc.

Lowering of */y/ after velars

The vowel *y of Proto-Cerrado was lowered to after velar onsets.[2]:88,467–8,473

  • Proto-Cerrado *kyj’ > Proto-Goyaz Jê *kə ‘skin, bark, cover’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *ky > Proto-Goyaz Jê *kə ‘to sing (of birds), to whistle’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *ky > Proto-Goyaz Jê *kə ‘to cut (plural)’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *ŋgy > Proto-Goyaz Jê *ŋgə ‘men's house’.

Other changes

Other changes include:[2]:88, 90

  • loss of the Proto-Cerrado codas *-m, *-n, *-j’;
  • Proto-Cerrado *-pr(’) > Proto-Goyaz Jê *-r(’);
  • Proto-Cerrado *-d > Proto-Goyaz Jê *-r;
  • Proto-Cerrado *ja > Proto-Goyaz Jê *jê ~ *î;
  • Proto-Cerrado *wa > Proto-Goyaz Jê *wa ~ *û (but *wə̂ in closed syllables);
  • Proto-Cerrado *pᵊ- > Proto-Goyaz Jê *py-/*pu- (as per labial harmony).


  1. ^ Nikulin, Andrey (1 February 2019). "A reconstruction of Proto-Jê phonology and lexicon". Journal of Language Relationship. 17 (1–2): 93–127. doi:10.31826/jlr-2019-171-211.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nikulin, Andrey (2020). Proto-Macro-Jê: um estudo reconstrutivo (PDF) (Ph.D. dissertation). Brasília: Universidade de Brasília.
  3. ^ a b c Nikulin, Andrey (2017). "A phonological reconstruction of Proto-Cerrado (Jê family)". Journal of Language Relationship. 15 (3): 147–80. doi:10.31826/jlr-2018-153-404.

This page was last updated at 2021-05-11 21:15, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari