THE YUTYRAMAN LANGUAGE


Introduction

Despite of Portuguese having the status of official language in the Republic of Yutyrama, Yutyraman or ytyrjeẽ /ɨtɨrʒɛɛ̃/ is the native language and sometimes considered the "national language" of the country. Originally, it was spoken by the Tupi-Guarani tribe of Ywytyrawa that migrated from Tumuk Humak ridge to the territory between the rivers Oyapock and Kanatuna during the seventeenth century. Currently it is spoken by around 15% of the population of Yutyrama, about 42,000 people. Since 2012, the language is taught to children in all the public schools of the country, in order to preserve the ancestral culture.

The language belongs to the Tupian family and is classified as belonging to the Tupi-Guarani group and Wayampi subgroup (subgroup VIII) with 8 other languages, such as Anamb, Urubu-Kaapor, Anau, Zo', Emerillon and Wayampi. Yutyraman, Wayampi, Zo' and Emerillon are the only Tupian languages spoken to the north of the Amazon river, in a region where Cariban and Arawakan languages are preponderant.

Yutyraman (ytm) has a relatively simple phonemic inventory with only 12 native consonants. There are 6 vowels, all of them with a nasal counterpart. The language is written with the Latin alphabet introduced by Jesuit missionaries in the end of seventeenth century. The writting underwent several orthographic reforms, the last one in 2012 that changed the glides y /j/ into , to differentiate of y used to write the vowel /ɨ/, and w /w/ into , and eliminated the h used to indicate the glottal stop /Ɂ/. So, the name of the language in Yutyraman, previously written ytyrjehẽ became ytyrjeẽ , wipok became ipok and moyu became mou after the reform,

Yutyraman is agglutinative and classified as an active-stative language of fluid-S type.

Used as the daily language by most people in Yutyrama, Caboquir is a dialect of Portuguese with some grammatical features and a significant vocabulary from Yutyraman. It is being used as a lingua franca by the Portuguese colonizers, the Yutyraman-speaking comunity and other indigenous minorities.


Phonology

Consonants


Stops: /p/, /t/, /k/, /Ɂ/

Affricates: /ʒ/

Fricatives: /s/, /ʃ/

Nasals: /m/, /n/

Lateral:  /r/

Semi-vowels: /w/, /j/


 

Vowels


/i/, /ɨ/, /ɛ/, /a/, /ɔ/, /u/, /ĩ/, /ɨ/̃, /ɛ̃/, //, /ɔ̃/, /ũ/


Morphology and Syntax

The language has no grammatical gender and no articles. Numerals serve as indefinite article and demonstrative pronouns can be used as definite articles.  Both preceed the nouns. Adjectives follow the nouns. So for example, kasatu is 'book', 'a book' or 'the book'; ek kasatu means 'that book' or 'the book'; ip tejau means 'one pig' or 'a pig'; kuj por means 'pretty woman'.


Personal pronouns have 3 forms, (i) free, (ii) possessive prefix and prefix of stative/descriptive verbs (iii) prefix of active (transitive and intransitive) verbs.


Pronoun
Free Form
Stative/Possessive
Prefix
Active Prefix
I
ij
je
a
you (sing)
en
ne
ere
he, she, it
ae
i
o
we (inclusive)
or
ore
oro
we (exclusive)
jan
j
ja
you (plural)
pejẽ
p pe
they
ĩk
i/ik
o


Some examples:


1. Stative/descriptive verbs and possessive pronouns:

    je-pir 'I'm red'

    i-pir 'he/she/it is red'

    je-ym 'I'm old'

    ae jerepak 'he saw me' or 'I was seen by him'

    ne-ru 'your father'

    en ru 'you are father'


2. Active verbs:

    a-meẽ i-ru-pe y 'I gave (me) the fruit (y) to his father (ru)'

    ja ym o-juk 'the dog (ja) killed the duck (ym)'

    ere-ju Garimpeiros-su pa? 'did you come from Garimpeiros'

   

The genitive is formed using a possessive prefix or by juxtaposition of two nouns, following the order possessor- possession. For example: yra-r-ak 'bird's head' from yr 'bird' and ak 'head'; i-r-ok 'his/her house', from ok (house).


The imperative of verbs is made with the prefix 'e-' for the second person. The negative is made with n- and -i circumfixed to the verb. So: e-u 'eat'; kya seex n-a-r-yu-i 'I didn't drink this beer'; ny-ja-a-i 'we don't go'



numerals


1. ip

2. mukũ

3. mapy

4. junyk

5. jep

6. jepoip

7. jepokũ

8. jepomapy

9. jepojunyk

10. mukum



Lexicon


An interesting characteristic of the language is the modern and technologic vocabulary. In spite of borrowing words such as 'police', 'television' or 'car' from English or Portuguese, these words were created based on Yutyraman and, sometimes, on Old Tupian. So, for example:


    tekorek 'police' or 'guardian of the law'

    yk 'car' or 'which moves in the land'

    epak tuk 'TV' or 'vision that moves in the air'

    asarattu 'electricity' or 'lightning power'


The Yuklandic sorian Institute of Languages (SML - sorsk Stofnunn af Mlum), dedicated to promote endangered languages of the world by translating and publishing books, comics and films into these languages, published some Herg's albuns of Tintin in Yutyraman (The Crab with the Golden Claws, Tintin in the Land of the Black Gold, Tintin in Tibet, Destination Moon, Flight 714 to Sydney):