Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Formerly British Guiana. 754,000 (1995). 43,000 Amerindians (1990 J. Forte). Literacy rate 91%. Also includes Chinese 1,500. Information mainly from SIL 1995, D. Wall WC 1982. Christian, Hindu, Muslim, traditional religion, secular. Blind population 1,300 (1982 WCE). Deaf institutions: 6. Data accuracy estimate: A2, B. The number of languages listed for Guyana is 14.
AKAWAIO (ACEWAIO, AKAWAI, ACAHUAYO, KAPON) [ARB] 3,800 in Guyana, 9% of the Amerindians (1990 J. Forte); 500 in Brazil; very few in Venezuela with no villages there (1982 D. Wall WC); 4,300 or more in all countries. West central, north of Patamona. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon. Important differences in vocabulary from Patamona. Language attitudes indicate separate literature is needed. They and the Patamona call themselves 'Kapon'. Tropical forest. Upland. Hunter-gatherers, fishermen. Traditional religion. Bible portions 1873. Work in progress.
ARAWAK (LOKONO, AROWAK) [ARW] 1,500 speakers (1984) out of 15,000 in the ethnic group in Guyana (1990 J. Forte); 700 in Surinam; 150 to 200 in French Guiana; a few in Venezuela (1977 SIL); 2,400 total speakers. West coast and northeast along the Corantyne River. Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean. Reported to be used only primarily by the elderly in Guyana and Surinam. Others are bilingual. The ethnic group in Guyana represents 33% of the Amerindians. Bible portions 1850-1978. Survey needed.
BERBICE CREOLE DUTCH [BRC] 4 or 5 speakers (1993 S. Kouwenbrg); 15 with limited competence (1989 J. Holm). Berbice River area. Creole, Dutch based. Speakers are bilingual in Guyanese, which has influenced Berbice considerably. Speakers claim it is not inherently intelligible with Skepi or Rupununi. About 1/3 of the basic lexicon and, most of the productive morphology is from Eastern Ijo in Nigeria; most of the rest of the lexicon is from Dutch, 10% loans from Arawak and Guyanese Creole English. Grammar. Nearly extinct.
ENGLISH [ENG] 322,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English. Dialect: GUYANESE ENGLISH. Spoken as first language by some Blacks and some Hindustanis. National language. Bible 1535-1989. NT 1525-1985. Bible portions 1530-1987.
GUYANESE (CREOLESE, GUYANESE CREOLE ENGLISH) [GYN] 650,000 possibly (250,000 Blacks and 400,000 Hindustanis); 50,000 in Surinam (1986 SIL); 700,000 in both countries. Georgetown, coast, and Rupununi River area. Also in Surinam. There may be some in French Guiana. Creole, English based, Atlantic, Eastern, Southern. Dialect: RUPUNUNI. It may be intelligible with other English based creoles of the Caribbean. Closest to creoles of Windward and Leeward Islands and Trinidad-Tobago. The first language of many people, but it has no official status. It will remain the home language and be used alongside Standard English (M. Adler 1977). There is a creole continuum with Standard English. Rupununi may be a separate language. Speakers of Rupununi, Berbice, and Skepi claim they are not inherently intelligible. Survey needed.
HINDI, CARIBBEAN (HINDUSTANI, AILI GAILI) [HNS] 195,000 in all countries. Only a small percentage of the 538,500 Hindustanis in Guyana (55% of the population; 1986) speak Caribbean Hindi. Also in Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bihari. Related to Bhojpuri and Awadhi. Most Hindustanis in Guyana speak Guyanese as first language. Those closer to Georgetown use a more standard English. Similar dialect to Surinam and Trinidad-Tobago. Coastal. Agriculturalists. Hindu. Bible portions 1980-1993. Work in progress.
KALIHNA (CARIB, CARIBE, KALINYA, CARIÑA, GALIBÍ) [CRB] 475 or more in Guyana (1991) out of 2,700 in the ethnic group (1990 J. Forte); 2,500 in Surinam; 1,200 in French Guiana; 100 or fewer in Brazil (1991); 4,000 to 5,000 in Venezuela (1978 J.C. Mosonyi); 10,000 total (1991). West coast and northwest. Carib, Northern, Galibi. Dialect: MURATO (MYRATO, WESTERN CARIB). The ethnic group in Guyana represents 6% of the Amerindians. Work in progress.
MACUSHI (MAKUSHI, MAKUXI, MACUSI, MACUSSI, TEWEYA, TEUEIA) [MBC] 7,000 in Guyana, 16% of the Amerindians (1990 J. Forte); 3,800 in Brazil (1977 Migliazza); 600 in Venezuela (1976 UFM); 11,400 to 13,000 in all countries. Southwestern border area, Rupununi north savannahs. Spread out in small settlements up to the foothills of the Pakaraima Mts. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Macushi. Close to, but not intelligible with, Patamona. The second language is English in Guyana, Portuguese in Brazil, Spanish in Venezuela. Typology: OVS. NT 1981. Bible portions 1923-1975. Work in progress.
PATAMONA (INGARIKO, EREMAGOK, KAPON) [PBC] 4,700, 10% of the Amerindians (1990 J. Forte). West central, about 13 villages. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon. Close to Macushi but not inherently intelligible. Marginally intelligible with Arecuna. Closest to Akawaio, but vocabulary differences and language attitudes make separate literature necessary. The Akawaio are less acculturated than Patamona. 'Ingariko' is the Macushi term for 'bush people'. People in the village of Paramakatoi are literate in English and Patamona. Some in other villages are literate in English. NT 1974. Bible portions 1963-1967.
PEMON (PEMONG) [AOC] 475 Arekuna in Guyana, 1% of the Amerindians (1990 J. Forte); 220 Taulipang in Brazil; 459 Ingarikó in Brazil; 4,850 Pemon in Venezuela (1977 Migliazza); 5,930 in all countries. Paruima Settlement. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon. Dialects: CAMARACOTO, TAUREPAN (TAULIPANG), ARECUNA (ARICUNA, AREKUNA, JARICUNA). Marginally intelligible with Patamona and Akawaio. Camaracoto may be distinct. Typology: OVS. Work in progress.
SKEPI CREOLE DUTCH [SKW] Few speakers. Essequibo region. Creole, Dutch based. Dialect: ESSEQUIBO. 52% lexical similarity with Berbice. Speakers claim it is not inherently intelligible with Berbice or Rupununi. Nearly extinct.
WAIWAI (UAIUAI, UAIEUE, OUAYEONE, PARUKOTA) [WAW] 886 to 1,058 in both countries (1986 SIL). Southwest Guyana, headwaters of the Essequibo River. Also in Brazil. Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Waiwai. Dialect: KATAWIAN (KATWENA, KATAWINA). Tropical forest. NT 1984. Bible portions 1966-1976.
WAPISHANA (WAPITXANA, WAPISIANA, VAPIDIANA, WAPIXANA) [WAP] 9,000 in Guyana (1993 SIL), 14% of the Amerindians (1990 J. Forte); 1,500 in Brazil (1986 SIL); 10,500 total. Southwest Guyana, south of the Kanuku Mts., northwest of the Waiwai; a few villages. Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Wapishanan. Dialects: ATORAI (ATOR'TI, DAURI), MAPIDIAN (MAOPITYAN, MAWAYANA), AMARIBA. Speakers' second language is English, which is taught in school. Amariba may be extinct. 40 Mapidian are intermarried with Waiwai speakers and speak fluent Waiwai. Savannah. Swidden agriculturalists: cassava. Traditional religion, Christian. Bible portions 1975. Work in progress.
WARAO (WARAU, WARRAU, GUARAO, GUARAUNO) [WBA] A few speakers in Guyana out of 4,700 in the ethnic group (1990 J. Forte); a few in Surinam; 15,000 in Venezuela (1975). Northwestern Guyana near coast, mixed with Arawak and Carib. Language Isolate. In Oreala, Guyana, only the older people speak the language. NT 1974. Bible portions 1960-1967.
Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.
If you have questions, comments, or updates on the Ethnologue, go to the Feedback page.
[Americas | Areas | Ethnologue Home | SIL Home]