Ninam language

Native toBrazil, Venezuela
Native speakers
800 in Brazil (2010)[1]
100 in Venezuela (no date)[2]
including 430 Yaroamë (2015)
  • Yanam
Language codes
ISO 639-3shb
Yanomami Venezuela.png
Distribution in Venezuela

Yanam, or Ninam, is a Yanomaman language spoken in Roraima, Brazil (800 speakers) and southern Venezuela near the Mucajai, upper Uraricaá, and Paragua rivers.


Yanam is also known by the following names: Ninam, Yanam–Ninam, Xirianá, Shiriana Casapare, Kasrapai, Jawaperi, Crichana, Jawari, Shiriana, Eastern Yanomaman.

Regional variation

Gordon (2009) reports 2 main varieties (Northern, Southern). Kaufman (1994) reports 3:

  1. Yanam (a.k.a. Northern Yanam/Ninam (Xiliana, Shiriana, Uraricaa-Paragua))
  2. Ninam (a.k.a. Southern Yanam/Ninam (Xilixana, Shirishana, Mukajai))
  3. Jawarib

The name Jawari is shared with Yaroamë.

There are three dialects spoken in Roraima, Brazil according to Ferreira, et al. (2019):[4]

The remaining speakers of Arutani and Sapé also speak Ninam (Shirián), since they now mostly live in Ninam villages.[5][6]


Yanam has seven base vowels: /a, e, ə, i, ɨ, o, u/. Yanam has both vowel length and nasalization, and both features can occur simultaneously, for all vowels except for /ɨ/.[7]

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain aspirated
Stop p t k
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative s ʃ h
Nasal m n
Approximant j
Flap ɾ


  1. ^ Yanam at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Ninam at Ethnologue (10th ed., 1984). Note: Data may come from the 9th edition (1978).
  3. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Ninam.
  4. ^ Ferreira, Helder Perri; Machado, Ana Maria Antunes; Senra, Estevão Benfica. 2019. As línguas Yanomami no Brasil: diversidade e vitalidade. São Paulo: Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) and Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN). 216pp. ISBN 978-85-8226-076-0
  5. ^ Rosés Labrada, Jorge Emilio, Thiago Chacon & Francia Medina. 2020. Arutani (Venezuela and Brazil) – Language Snapshot. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description 17, 170-177. London: EL Publishing.
  6. ^ Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada & Francia Medina (2019). Sapé (Venezuela) — Language Snapshot. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, vol 16. London: EL Publishing. pp. 169-175.
  7. ^ "SAPhon – South American Phonological Inventories". linguistics.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • 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.
  • Migliazza, Ernest; & Grimes, J. E. (1961). Shiriana phonology. Anthropological Linguistics. (June).

External links

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