Maxakalían languages

Linguistic classificationMacro-Jê
  • Maxakalían
Maxkali languages.png

The Maxakalían languages (also Mashakalían) were first classified into the Jê languages. It was only in 1931 that Loukotka separated them from the Jê family. Alfred Métraux and Curt Nimuendaju Unkel considered the Maxakalían family isolated from others. John Alden Mason suggests a connection with the Macro-Jê stock, confirmed by Aryon Dall’Igna Rodrigues.


Apart from extinct varieties generally seen as dialects of Maxakalí,[1] Mason noted resemblances with a few other extinct languages of the area: Pataxó, Malalí and Coropó. However, Coropó is now thought to be a Purian language. Campbell (1997) therefore lists the Maxakalian languages as:

  1. Malalí (†)
  2. Pataxó (Patashó) (†) (retain some words)
  3. Maxakalí (Mashacalí) (1,270 speakers)

Glottolog (2016) restores Coropó (Koropó) as a Maxakalían language.

Nikulin (2020)

Nikulin (2020) proposes the following internal classification of the Maxakalían languages:[2]


Maxakalí is a sister of Krenák and possibly also Kamakã. Together, they form a Trans-São Francisco branch within the Macro-Jê language phylum in Nikulin's (2020) classification.[2]

Ramirez (2015)

Internal classification of the Maxakali languages according to Ramirez, et al. (2015):[3]

  • Malali
  • Maxakali-Pataxó
    • (?) Koropó
    • Maxakali proper
      • Maxakali
      • Old Machacari (including: Monoxó, Makoni, Kapoxó, Kumanaxó, Panhame, etc.)
    • Pataxó of Wied[4]
    • Pataxó-Hãhãhãe

Currently, Maxakali (excluding Old Machacari) is the only living language, while all other languages are extinct.

Pataxó as documented by Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied (1989: 510-511) in 1816[4] is distinct from Pataxó-Hãhãhãe. Pataxó-Hãhãhãe was spoken into the 20th century and has been documented by Meader (1978: 45-50),[5] Loukotka (1963: 32-33),[6] and Silva & Rodrigues (1982).[7]

Many Maxakalian varieties are attested only from 19th-century word lists, some of which are:[3]

  • Mashacari (A.St-Hil, 2000: 274;[8] Wied, 1989: 509-510[4]) [collected in 1816-1817]
  • Kapoxó (Martius, 1863: 170-172[9]) [collected in 1818]
  • Monoxó (Saint-Hilaire, 2000: 181[10]) [collected in 1817]
  • Makoni (Saint-Hilaire, 2000: 212; Martius, 1863: 173-176; Wied, 1989: 512-513) [collected in 1816-1818]
  • Malali (Saint-Hilaire, 2000: 181; Martius, 1863: 207-208; Wied, 1989: 511-512) [collected in 1816-1818]

Loukotka (1968)

Below is a full list of Mashakali languages and dialects listed by Loukotka (1968), including names of unattested varieties.[11]


Mason (1950)

Mason (1950) lists:[12]

  • Caposhó (Koposǒ)
  • Cumanashó (Kumanaxó)
  • Macuní (Makoni)
  • Mashacalí (Maxakarí)
  • Monoshó (Monoxó)
  • Panyame (Paname)


Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items for the Mashakali languages.[11]

gloss Mashakali Kaposho Kumanasho Pañáme Monoxo Makoni Patasho Hahaháy Malali
three hebü-hoe etíg hatig mounghí
head i-toñanü patañon patañon epo-toy ap-tówe epo-toi at-patoy mu-huháy akä
tooth tsoʔoi shuoi shuoi shuoy a-chówe eti-öy ãn-chu ayó
hand ñimkotoi nipeoto añibktän añeːm ini-mankó aham ayimké
water konahan konaʔan kunaʔan konaʔan koanʔá konam tiäng naha xexe
fire kesham kesham kicháu köa itahábm kuyá
sun apokai apukoi apukoi apukoy maĩuá abkay mayon manochiá hapem
earth hahám aʔam aʔam haʔam hahám aʔam aham hahám am
tree abaʔai abaʔai abaʔai abaʔay mihiːn aboʔoi mihim mihná
eat tomon vemán tigman ĩmá nasit oknikenang komá


  1. ^ Some listed as alternative names in Maxakali language
  2. ^ a b Nikulin, Andrey. 2020. Proto-Macro-Jê: um estudo reconstrutivo. Doctoral dissertation, University of Brasília.
  3. ^ a b Ramirez, H., Vegini, V., & França, M. C. V. de. (2015). Koropó, puri, kamakã e outras línguas do Leste Brasileiro. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, 15(2), 223 - 277. doi:10.20396/liames.v15i2.8642302
  4. ^ a b c Wied, Maximilian Alexander Philipp, Prinz von. 1989. Viagem ao Brasil nos anos de 1815 a 1817. Belo Horizonte: Editora Itatiaia.
  5. ^ Meader, Robert E. (1978). Indios do Nordeste: Levantamento sobre os remanescentes tribais do nordeste brasileiro (in Portuguese). Brasilia: SIL International.
  6. ^ Loukotka, Čestmir. 1963. "Documents et vocabulaires de langues et de dialectes sud-américains", Journal de la Société des Américanistes, Paris, vol. 52, pp. 7-60.
  7. ^ Silva, Aracy Lopes da & Maria Carolina Young Rodrigues. 1982. Lições de Bahetá: sobre a língua Pataxó-Hãhãhãi. São Paulo: Commissão Pró-Índio de São Paulo.
  8. ^ Saint-Hilaire, Auguste de. 2000. Viagem pelas províncias do Rio de Janeiro e Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte: Editora Itatiaia.
  9. ^ Martius, Karl Friedrich Philip von. 1863. Glossaria linguarum Brasiliensium: glossarios de diversas lingoas e dialectos, que fallao os Indios no imperio do Brazil. Erlangen: Druck von Jange.
  10. ^ Saint-Hilaire, Auguste de. 2000. Viagem pelas províncias do Rio de Janeiro e Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte: Editora Itatiaia.
  11. ^ a b Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  12. ^ Mason, John Alden (1950). "The languages of South America". In Steward, Julian (ed.). Handbook of South American Indians. 6. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 143. pp. 157–317.


  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1990). Language history in South America: What We Know and How to Know More. In D. L. Payne (Ed.), Amazonian Linguistics: Studies in Lowland South American Languages (pp. 13–67). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70414-3.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The Native Languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the World's Languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.

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