Guató language

Native toBrazil, Bolivia
RegionMato Grosso do Sul state: Paraguay River banks and up São Lourenço River, along Bolivian border;[1] also Santa Cruz Department (Bolivia): Uberaba Lake[2]
Ethnicity370 Guató people (2008)[1]
Native speakers
5 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3gta
Guato language.png
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Guató is a possible language isolate spoken by 1% of the Guató people of Brazil.


Kaufman (1990) provisionally classified Guató as a branch of the Macro-Jê languages, but no evidence for this was found by Eduardo Ribeiro. Martins (2011) also suggests a relationship with Macro-Jê.[3]

Language contact

Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Bororo, Tupi, and Karib language families due to contact.[4]

An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013)[5] found lexical similarities between Guató and the Zamucoan languages. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing, genetic inheritance, or chance resemblances.


In Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, Guató is spoken on the banks of the Paraguay River and up the São Lourenço River, along the Bolivian border.[6] It is also spoken at Uberaba Lake[2] in Santa Cruz Department (Bolivia).


The Guató vowel system, like that of Macro-Jê languages, collapses a three-way distinction of height in oral vowels to two in nasal vowels.[7]

Oral Nasal
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u ĩ ɨ̃ ũ
Mid e o ã
Open ɛ a ɔ
Labial Denti-
Velar Labio-
Nasal m n
Plosive voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
voiceless p t k
Fricative f h
Sonorant w ɾ j


Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items for Guató.[2]

gloss Guató
one chenéhe
two dúni
three chumó
tooth makuá
tongue mundokuír
hand mara
woman muazya
water mágũ
fire matá
moon múpina
maize madzyéro
jaguar mépago
house movír

For more extensive vocabulary lists of Guató by Palácio (1984)[8][9] and Postigo (2009),[10] see the corresponding Portuguese article.


  1. ^ a b c Guató at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  3. ^ Martins, Andérbio Márcio Silva. 2011. Uma avaliação da hipótese de relações genéticas entre o Guató e o tronco Macro-Jê. Doutorado em Linguística. Universidade de Brasília.
  4. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.
  5. ^ Müller, André, Viveka Velupillai, Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Eric W. Holman, Sebastian Sauppe, Pamela Brown, Harald Hammarström, Oleg Belyaev, Johann-Mattis List, Dik Bakker, Dmitri Egorov, Matthias Urban, Robert Mailhammer, Matthew S. Dryer, Evgenia Korovina, David Beck, Helen Geyer, Pattie Epps, Anthony Grant, and Pilar Valenzuela. 2013. ASJP World Language Trees of Lexical Similarity: Version 4 (October 2013).
  6. ^ Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "Brazil languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (22nd ed.). Dallas: SIL International.
  7. ^ A. P. Palacios, 1984; A. V. Postigo, 2009
  8. ^ Palácio, Adair Pimentel. 1984. Guató: a língua dos índios canoeiros do rio Paraguai. Campinas: Univ. Dissertação doutoral, Universidade Estadual de Campinas.
  9. ^ Martins, Andérbio Márcio Silva. 2011. Uma avaliação da hipótese de relações genéticas entre o Guató e o tronco Macro-Jê. Dissertação doutoral, Universidade de Brasília.
  10. ^ Postigo, Adriana Viana. 2009. Fonologia da língua Guató. Dissertação de mestrado. Três Lagoas: Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul.
  • Alain Fabre, 2005, Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos: GUATÓ.[1]

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