Ofayé language

Native toBrazil
RegionMato Grosso do Sul
Ethnicity60 Ofayé people (2006)[1]
Native speakers
2 (2005)[1]
  • Ofayé
Language codes
ISO 639-3opy
Ofaye language.png

The Ofayé or Opaye language, also Ofaié-Xavante, Opaié-Shavante, forms its own branch of the Macro-Jê languages. It is spoken by only a couple of the small Ofayé people, though language revitalization efforts are underway. Grammatical descriptions have been made by the Pankararú linguist Maria das Dores de Oliveira (Pankararu),[3] as well as by Sarah C. Gudschinsky[4] and Jennifer E. da Silva, from the Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul.

It was spoken on the Ivinhema River, Pardo River, and Nhandú River in Mato Grosso do Sul. Guachi, spoken on the Vacaria River in Mato Grosso do Sul, is a dialect.[5]

Language contact

Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Macro-Mataguayo-Guaykuru languages due to contact.[6]


The consonantal inventory of Ofayé is as follows.[3]:40

Labial Alveolar Postalveolar/palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Stop voiceless t k ʔ
voiced d g
Fricative ɸ ʃ h
Nasal n
Oral sonorant ɾ j w

The vowel inventory of Ofayé is as follows.[3]:42

Front Central Back
Close i ĩ
Close-mid e ẽ ə o õ
Open-mid ɛ
Open a ã


Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items.[5]

gloss Opaie
one enex-há
two yakwári
tongue chü-õrá
foot chü-gareyé
fire mitáu
tree komekatá
jaguar woki
house shüa
white õká


  1. ^ a b Ofayé at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Ofayé.
  3. ^ a b c Oliveira, Maria das Dores de (2006). Ofayé, a língua do povo do mel: fonologia e gramática (Ph.D. dissertation). Maceió: Universidade Federal de Alagoas.
  4. ^ Gudschinsky, Sarah C. (1974). "Fragmentos de Ofaié: a descrição de uma língua extinta". Série Lingüística. 3: 177–249.
  5. ^ a b Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  6. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.

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