Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Carib languages are an indigenous language family of South America. Carib languages are widespread across northern South America, from the mouth of the Amazon River to the Colombian Andes. The 29 living Carib languages are divided into a northern branch (21 languages) and a southern branch (8 languages). The Carib family is well known in the linguistic world due to Hixkaryana a language with Object-Verb-Subject sentences, previously thought not to exist in human language.
Carib-speaking peoples occupied the Lesser Antilles several hundred years ago, killing, displacing, or forcibly assimilating the Arawakan peoples who inhabited the islands. The Arawakan language was maintained by the conquered peoples and adopted by the conquerering Caribs. Thus the language is called Island Carib, though it is not part of the Carib linguistic family. It is now extinct but was spoken on the Lesser Antilles until the 1920's. A linguistic descendent of Island Carib, Garífuna, a language of Honduras is also known as Caribe or Black Carib.
The Carib language family may be related to Je and Tupian in a "Je-Tupi-Carib" stock. Carib itself is tentatively divided into two to four branches.
Northern Carib languages
- Arára, Pará
Southern Carib languages
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