Paumarí language

Paumarí (also Paumari, Purupuru, Kurukuru, Pamari, Purupurú, Pammari, Curucuru, Palmari) is an Arauan language spoken in Brazil by about 700 people. It is spoken by the Paumari Indians.

It is a largely head-marking language with unmarked VOS order and a ergative alignment for marking of nouns combined with accusative marking of pronouns.

Paumarí has only two open word classes - nouns and verbs. However, it also has numerous closed classes including fourteen adjectives, adpositions, interjections, conjunctions and demonstratives. Paumarí nouns are elaborately divided into over one hundred possessed nouns and a larger number of free nouns. Furthermore, each free noun has grammatical gender - being either masculine or feminine, with feminine being the unmarked gender and indicated by the suffix -ni.

Verb roots have a up to fifteen suffix positions, but all are only optionally filled. Most of these refer to location or aspect, plus a negative suffix -ra.


Paumarí has a larger consonant inventory than most languages of the Amazon Basin, and is notable for featuring bilabial and coronal implosives, which have been lost from other Arauan languages but are reconstructed clearly for the protolanguage of the family. It is one of very few languages in the New World to contrast implosives with other voiced stop consonants: similar contrasts are known only for a few other Amazonian languages. However, it has a very simple vowel system with only three contrastive vowels, the back one of which can range from [o] to [u].


    Bilabial Alveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Labialized velar Glottal
Stop aspirated   [tʰ]     [kʰ]    
unaspirated [p] [t]     [k]   [ʔ]
voiced [b] [d]     [g]    
implosive [ɓ] [ɗ]          
Affricate voiceless     [ʧ]        
voiced     [dʒ]        
Fricative voiceless [f] [s]         [h]
Nasal voiced [m] [n]          
Flap voiced   [ɾ]          
Approximant voiced       [j]   [w]  


Front Central Back
High [i]    
Mid     [o]
Low   [a]  


  • "Arawa"; in Dixon, Robert M. W.; The Amazonian Languages; pp. 293-305. ISBN 0521570212
  • Iambic feet in Paumarí

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