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Introduction to Wayana, a Cariban language Eliane Camargo (IPE – Association pour le dialogue interculturel)

Wayana (glottocode: waya1269) is an Amerindian language belonging to the Cariban language family. It is spoken by approximately 2,600 individuals inhabiting a vast, tripartite cross-border area encompassing Brazil (around 500 people), Suriname (around 600) and French Guiana (around 1,500). Wayana faces a serious threat of extinction in Brazil, primarily due to speakers shifting to Apalai, another Cariban language spoken by a community which shares its socio-cultural territory with the Wayana. In Suriname, the Wayana coexist with the Tiriyo, speakers of another Cariban language, while in French Guiana, they share their territory with Apalai and Teko (speakers of a Tupi-Guarani language) minorities.

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