Terêna language

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Native toBrazil
EthnicityTerena people
Native speakers
16,000 (2006)[1]
  • Southern
    • Bolivia–Parana
      • Terêna
Language codes
ISO 639-2ter
ISO 639-3Variously:
ter – Terena
gqn – Kinikinao & Guaná
caj – Chané

Terêna or Etelena is spoken by 15,000 Brazilians. The language has a dictionary and written grammar[3]. Many Terena people have low Portuguese proficiency. It is spoken in Mato Grosso do Sul. 20% are literate in their language, 80% literate in Portuguese.

There were once four varieties, Kinikinao, Terena proper, Guaná, and Chané, which are sometimes considered separate languages (Aikhenvald 1999). Only Terena proper is still spoken.

Terêna has an active–stative syntax.[4]



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
prenasal ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ
Fricative voiceless s ʃ h
prenasal ⁿz ⁿʒ
Nasal m n
Tap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
High i ĩ iː (ɨ) u ũ uː
Mid e ẽ eː o õ oː
ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Low a ã aː



  1. ^ Terena at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kinikinao & Guaná at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Chané at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Terena-Kinikinao-Chane". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Butler, Nancy Evelyn; Ekdahl, Elizabeth Muriel (1979). Aprenda Terêna, Vol. 1 (in Portuguese). Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  4. ^ Aikhenvald, "Arawak", in Dixon & Aikhenvald, eds., The Amazonian Languages, 1999.
  5. ^ Nascimento, Gardênia (2012). Aspectos Gramaticais da Língua Terena. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.