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Languages of Guyana

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Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Formerly British Guiana. 739,000. 43,000 Amerindians (1990 J. Forte). National or official language: English. Literacy rate: 91%. Immigrant languages: Portuguese, Saint Lucian Creole French (250), Urdu. Also includes Chinese (1,500). Information mainly from J. Forte 1990; SIL 1965–2003. Blind population: 1,300 (1982 WCE). Deaf population: 44,199. Deaf institutions: 6. The number of individual languages listed for Guyana is 17. Of those, 16 are living languages and 1 has no known speakers.
Akawaio

[ake] 4,500 in Guyana (2002 SIL). Population total all countries: 5,350. West central, north of Patamona. Also in Brazil, Venezuela. Alternate names: Acahuayo, Acewaio, Akawai, Ingariko.  Dialects: Similar to Macushi [mbc], marginally intelligible with the Arecuna dialect of Pemon [aoc].  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon 
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Arawak

[arw] 1,500 in Guyana (2000 J. Forte). The ethnic group represents 33% of the Amerindians in Guyana. Ethnic population: 15,500 in Guyana. West coast and northeast along the Corantyne River. Alternate names: Arowak, Lokono.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean 
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Atorada

[aox] Few in Guyana. Southwest Guyana, near the Wapishana. Also in Brazil. Alternate names: Ator’ti, Atorai, Dauri.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 50% with Wapishana [wap], 20% with Mapidian [mpw].  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Wapishanan 
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Berbice Creole Dutch

[brc] 4 (1993 S. Kouwenberg). 15 with limited competence (Holm 1989). Berbice River area. Dialects: Claim it is not inherently intelligible with Skepi Creole Dutch [skw] or the Rupununi dialect of Guyanese Creole English [gyn]. About 1/3 of the basic lexicon and most of the productive morphology is from Izon [ijc] in Nigeria; most of the rest of the lexicon is from Dutch [nld], 10% loans from Arawak [arw] and Guyanese Creole English.  Classification: Creole, Dutch based  Nearly extinct.
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Carib

[car] 480 in Guyana (1991). The ethnic group represents 6% of the Amerindians in Guyana. Ethnic population: 3,000 in Guyana (2000 J. Forte). West coast and northwest. Alternate names: Caribe, Cariña, Galibi, Kalihna, Kalinya.  Dialects: Murato (Myrato, Western Carib).  Classification: Carib, Northern, Galibi 
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English

[eng]   Dialects: Guyanese English.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English 
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Guyanese Creole English

[gyn] 650,000 in Guyana. 250,000 Blacks and 400,000 Hindustanis. Population total all countries: 700,000. Georgetown, coast, and Rupununi River area. May be some in French Guiana. Also in Suriname, United States. Alternate names: Creolese, Guyanese Creole.  Dialects: Afro-Guyanese Creole, Rupununi, Indo-Guyanese Creole. May be intelligible with other English-based creoles of the Caribbean. Most similar to creoles of Saint Vincent and Tobago (Holbrook). Rupununi dialect may be a separate language. Rupununi, Berbice Creole Dutch [brc], and Skepi Creole Dutch [skw] speakers claim they are not mutually inherently intelligible.  Classification: Creole, English based, Atlantic, Eastern, Southern 
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Hindustani, Caribbean

[hns] Ethnic population: 538,500 in Guyana.  Alternate names: Aili Gaili.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern zone, Bihari 
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Macushi

[mbc] 9,500 in Guyana (2001 ISA). Ethnic population: 9,500. Southwestern border area, Rupununi north savannahs. Spread out in 20 small settlements up to the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. Alternate names: Macusi, Macussi, Makushi, Makusi, Makuxi, Teueia, Teweya.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Macushi 
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Mapidian

[mpw]  Southwest Guyana, with the Waiwai. Alternate names: Maiopitian, Maopityan.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Wapishanan  Nearly extinct.
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Mawayana

[mzx] 50 (1986 C. Howard). Southwest Guyana, living with the Waiwai. Alternate names: Mahuayana.  Dialects: Not related to Wapishana [wap], Atorada [aox], or Mapidian [mpw]. Mawayana shows no semantic similarity with Wapishana [wap], Atorada [aox], or Mapidian [mpw] (2002 R. Hicks).  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran  Nearly extinct.
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Patamona

[pbc] 4,700 (Forte 1990). Ethnic population: 5,000 (2000 J. Forte). West central, about 13 villages. Alternate names: Eremagok, Ingariko, Kapon.  Dialects: Similar to Macushi [mbc] but not inherently intelligible Marginally intelligible with the Arecuna dialect of Pemon [aoc]. Most similar to Akawaio [ake], but vocabulary differences and language attitudes separate them.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon 
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Pemon

[aoc] 480 in Guyana (Forte 1990). Ethnic population: 500. Paruima Settlement. Alternate names: Pemong.  Dialects: Camaracoto, Taurepan (Taulipang), Arecuna (Aricuna, Arekuna, Jaricuna).  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon 
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Skepi Creole Dutch

[skw] Extinct. Essequibo region. Dialects: Essequibo. Speakers said not inherently intelligible with Berbice Creole Dutch [brc] or the Rupununi dialect of Guyanese Creole English [gyn]. Lexical similarity: 52% with Berbice Creole Dutch [brc].  Classification: Creole, Dutch based 
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Waiwai

[waw] 200 in Guyana (Forte 1990). Southwest Guyana, headwaters of the Essequibo River. Alternate names: Ouayeone, Parukota, Uaieue, Uaiuai.  Dialects: Katawian (Katwena, Katawina).  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Waiwai 
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Wapishana

[wap] 6,000 in Guyana (2000 J. Forte). Population total all countries: 12,500. Southwest Guyana, south of the Kanuku Mountains, northwest of the Waiwai; a few villages. Also in Brazil. Alternate names: Uapixana, Vapidiana, Wapichan, Wapichana, Wapisana, Wapishshiana, Wapisiana, Wapitxana, Wapixana.  Dialects: Amariba. Lexical similarity: 10% with Mapidian [mpw].  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Wapishanan 
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Warao

[wba] Few in Guyana (Forte 1990). Ethnic population: 5,000 in Guyana (2000 J. Forte). Northwestern, at Oreala, Guyana near coast, mixed with Arawak and Carib speakers. Alternate names: Guarao, Guarauno, Warau, Warrau.  Classification: Language isolate 
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