Xerénte language

Native toBrazil
EthnicityXerente people
Native speakers
1,810 (2000)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Brazil (Tocantínia)
Language codes
ISO 639-3xer

The Xerénte or Akwẽ-Xerénte language is an Akuwẽ (Central Jê) language (, Macro-Jê) of Brazil. It is spoken by the Xerente people in the Tocantins state between Rio do Sono and Rio Tocantins.


Front Central Back
Close i ĩ ɨ u ũ
Close-mid e ẽ o õ
Mid ə ə̃
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a
  • Vowels /i, ɨ, u, a/ when occurring in unstressed syllables can be heard as [ɪ, ɨ̞, ʊ, ɐ].
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z
Nasal m n
Approximant j w
Flap ɾ
  • A [ɡ] sound is heard as an allophone of /k/ when preceding another consonant.
  • /d/ can be heard as dental [d̪] when preceding /i/.
  • /s/ can be heard as a post-alveolar or retroflex sibilant sound [ʃ~ʂ] when preceding /i/.
  • /h/ when preceding /i/ can be heard as a voiced velar or glottal fricative sound [ɣ~ɦ].
  • /h/ when preceding /k/ can be heard as a velar fricative sound [x].
  • /n/ when preceding the following vowels /i, õ, ɔ/ can be heard as a palatal nasal [ɲ].
  • /ɾ/ may also be heard as a retroflex flap [ɽ].[2]


Personal pronouns[3]

Person Nominative Emphatic Absolutive Tense-Aspect-Mood-Person


1S wa wahã ĩ- wa-
1P wanõrĩ (nĩ) - wa-
2S ka, toka kahã ai- bî-, te-
2P kanõrĩ (kwa), tokanõrĩ -
3S ta tahã Ø-, ã-, ti-, t- Ø-, mã-, te-
3P tanõrĩ tahãnõrĩ

The nominative and emphatic forms are free morphemes with the function of subject of transitive or intransitive sentences. The absolutive pronoun prefixes mark possessors, objects of postpositions, direct objects, subjects of nominal predicates and subjects of intransitive verbs with post-verbal operators.


  1. ^ Xerénte at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ de Souza, Shelton Lima (2008). Descrição fonético-fonológica da língua Akwen-Xerente. Universidade de Brasília, Brasília.
  3. ^ Filho, Sinval Martins Sousa (2011-07-05). "Padrões de alinhamento morfossintáticos em Akwe?-Xerente (Jê)". LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas (in Portuguese). 11 (1): 115–128. doi:10.20396/liames.v0i11.1498. ISSN 2177-7160.

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