Ethnologue: Areas: Americas

French Guiana

130,000 (1995 Johnstone). Literacy rate 78% to 82%. Also includes Chinese 5,000. Information mainly from Butt 1966, SIL 1994. Christian, secular, traditional religion, Chinese traditional religion, Muslim, Baha'i. Data accuracy estimate: B. The number of languages listed for French Guiana is 10.

ARAWAK (LOKONO) [ARW] 150 to 200 in French Guiana; 700 in Surinam; 1,500 speakers out of 5,000 ethnic group in Guyana; a few in Venezuela (1977 SIL); 2,400 total speakers. Coastal areas. Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean. Reported to be used only by the elderly. Bible portions 1850-1978. Survey needed.

CHINESE, HAKKA [HAK] 34,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Also in Guyana, China, other countries. Sino-Tibetan, Chinese. They have preserved their language. Bilingual. Bible 1916. NT 1883-1993. Bible portions 1860-1995.

EMERILLON (EMERILON, MEREO, MEREYO, EMEREÑON, TECO) [EME] 200 (1987 Cheryl Jensen). Southern border area. None in Brazil. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Oyampi (VIII). Probably not intelligible with Wayampí. Heavy borrowing from Wayana. Survey needed.

FRENCH [FRN] 72,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance. National language. Bible 1530-1986. NT 1474-1980. Bible portions 1483-1987.

FRENCH GUIANESE (GUYANAIS, GUYANE, GUYANE CREOLE, PATOIS, PATWA) [FRE] 50,000 (1977 SIL). Creole, French based. Comprehension of St. Lucia Creole is 78%, of Karipuna Creole of Brazil 77%. Over one-third of the population in the capital speaks Creole as mother tongue. It is the most important rural language. Most speakers are bilingual to some degree. Educated people can all speak it, but try to avoid it. Low status. Not taught in schools. A counter-movement is beginning. Some decreolization is taking place. Trade language.

JAVANESE, CARIBBEAN (SURINAM JAVANESE) [JVN] (60,000 in Surinam). Coastal area. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Javanese. They have preserved their language. Most are bilingual. Muslim. Bible portions 1985-1992. Work in progress.

KALIHNA (CARIB, CARIBE, KALINYA, CARIÑA, GALIBÍ) [CRB] 1,200 in French Guiana; 2,500 in Surinam; 475 or more in Guyana; 100 or fewer in Brazil (1991); 4,000 to 5,000 in Venezuela (1978 J.C. Mosonyi); 10,000 in all countries (1991). Coastal areas. Carib, Northern, Galibi. Dialect: TYREWUJU (EASTERN CARIB). Work in progress.

PALIKÚR (PALIKOUR, PALICUR) [PAL] 600 in French Guiana; 600 in Brazil 1,200 total (1988 SIL). Eastern border area. Arawakan, Maipuran, Eastern Maipuran. NT 1982. Bible portions 1971.

WAYAMPI, OIAPOQUE (OIAMPÍ, OYAPÍ, OYAMPÍ, WAYÃPI, WAYAPI, WAJAPI, OIUMPIAN) [OYA] 400 in French Guiana (1987 C. Jensen SIL), including 120 Camopí and Masikilí on the middle Oyapock River, and 180 in 3 villages on upper Oyapock around Trois-Sauts (1980 Françoise Grenand); 10 in Brazil (1986 A. Jensen SIL); 410 in both countries. Southern border area. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Oyampi (VIII). Monolinguals include children under 6, more than half the women, most men over 45, and all of those recently from Brazil. 20 on upper Oyapock speak imperfect Wayana. Everyone on the middle Oyapock and a few on the upper Oyapock can understand Emerillon, but no one will speak it. 7 people on upper Oyapock and 8 on middle Oyapock speak French well. 2 schools since 1956 and 1971. Half can partially understand French Guianese Creole; 30 speak it well around Camopí. A few speak Portuguese passably. Grammar. Work in progress.

WAYANA (OAYANA, GUAYANA, UAIANA, ALUKUYANA, UPURUI) [WAY] 200 in French Guiana; 600 in Surinam; 150 in Brazil (1977 WT); 950 total. Southwestern border area. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Wayana-Trio. NT 1979. Bible portions 1970.

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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.

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