Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tupi Antigo (or Tupinamba) is a extinct language which was spoken by Indian tribesmen in the coast of Brazil. The language belongs to Tupi-Guarani language subfamily. The modern descendant language is Nhengatu.
Tupi Antigo is an agglutinante language not possessing inflections as Portuguese and other European languages.
Definite and Indefinite Articles do not exist in Tupi Antigo.
Nouns may be primitive or derived. The former are scarce in the vocabulary of Tupi Antigo. They are in general monosyllabics stating facts and basic things in the daily life of the Indians and perhaps having etymological roots in the proto-language. As example we cite: ´y (water), Sy (mother), Ka'á (weeds), itá (rock) and many others. Derived nouns are those formed by juxtaposing a primitive noun with another or with verbs and adjectives or modifying it with suffixes. Plinio Ayrosa argues that such nouns are not actually words but phrases, because the situation is not the same as in Chinese where the component parts modify the meaning of the final word. In Tupi Antigo the parts do not lose their meaning. The illustrious researcher into Tupi Antigo argues that to consider these phrases as words originated in the bad habit of writing them together . This habit is too well-establihsed to be changed now. The main modes of formation of derivatives are:
1 - two nouns;
ita(rock) + oby(blue) - > itaoby (blue rock)
When a noun is formed from two nouns, the first one functions as possessing and the second as possessed. It is the formation of the genitive in Tupi Antigo.
2 - A noun and an adjective:
îuba(yellow) + pirá (fish) - > piraîuba (dourado - a fish of Brazil)
In any composition, if the first element is oxíton it is unchanged. If it is paroxíton ahead of a vowel loses the last vowel; ahead of a consonant it loses the last syllable:
îaguara (dog) + tinga (white) - > îaguatinga (white dog).
una(black) - > îaguaruna (black dog).
3 - A noun and a verb:
itá (rock) + beraba (shine) - > itaberaba (diamond)
4 - Suffixation of a noun:
Kuri (pine), tyba (suffix that gives abundance idea) - > Kurityba (pine trees).
5 - Suffixation of an adjective:
saba(suffix), katu (good) - > katusaba (goodness).
6 - Suffixation of a verb:
saba(suffix), mondá (steal) - > mondasaba (thief).
Gender and Number
The nouns do not possess gender or number. By influence of the Portuguese, when necessary we add the suffix etá to indicate the plural. Example: pirá (fish), -> pirá etá (fishes). To distinguish the sex, it is enough to add mena for male and kunhã for female. îaguara (dog), -> îaguara kunhã (dog female) As in Portuguese, some words have special name for the sex. Example: abá (indian, man), kunhã (woman).
Among the Indians the proper nouns that assign the names of people were given or by ironic reasons or to remember moral qualities or physical defects.
tukana (toucan), tin (nose) - > tukantin (Toucan nose)
ita (rock), îyba (arm) - > itaîyba (rock arm = strong arm)
eíra (honey), sema (to leave) - > eírasema (outlet of the honey).
We form the collective of nouns using :
1- the suffix tyba on with plants and minerals:
ita (rock) - > itatyba (quarry), arasá (araça)-> arasatyba (araçazal)
2 - the reyîa suffix, very used with animals.
guîra (bird) - > guirareyîa (flock of birds), pirá (fish) pirareyîa (shoal of fish).
An interesting aspect of the noun of Tupi Antigo is the existence of a class prefix. We have two prefixes, t and s. t for the upper classes: men and spirits and s for the inferior classes: inanimate things, animals and plants.
etymã (leg) - > t'etymã (leg of people), sëtymã (animal leg).
The nouns in Tupi Antigo has the peculiarity to posses time (tense). The suffix kuéra gives the sense of past to the noun, ráma of future.
abá (man), abakuéra (The one that was a man), abaráma (The one that will be a man).
To form the augmentative of a noun, we add to the normal noun the suffix guasu for names finished in tonic vowels and usu for the other cases:
´y (water) - > ´ygûasu (great river)
mboîa (snake) - > mboîusu (big snake)
The diminutive one forms with the suffix mirim.
ita (rock) - > itamirim (little rock).
The adjective does not inflect either and always comes after the noun, joining with it. Example ita (rock), piranga (red) -> itapiranga (red rock).
The verbs "to be" and "to have" do not exist in Tupi Antigo. Verbs do not have endings to indicate person, time (tense) or mode nor the infinitive. There are two conjugations in Tupi Antigo. The first conjugation is formed by conjugated substantives, adjectives or as verbs:
che marangatu - I (I am) good
nde marangatu - you (you are) good
i marangatu - he, she, it (it is) good
îandé marangatu - we (including you) good
oré marangatu - we (not including you) good
pe marangatu - you (you are) good
i marangatu - they (they are) good
The second conjugation consists of the verbs proper and requires in its conjugation the presence of the agent pronouns:
che a-îuká - I kill
nde ere-îuká - you kill
o-îuká - he, she it kills.
îande îa-îuká - we all kill.
oré i pray-îuká - we others kill
pee pe-îuká - you kill
o-îuká - they kill.
The personal pronouns function as possessive when they precede a substantive:
che pirá - my fish, nde pirá - your fish, etc.
Names for numerals do not exist in Tupi Antigo for amounts above four.
one -> oîepé, two -> mokõî, three -> mosapyr, four ->irundyk
Che po, "my hand", may be used for five, che po che py, "my feet my hands", for twenty, etc.
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