Gamela language

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Native toMaranhão, Brazil
RegionNortheastern Brazil
Extinct(date missing)
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Gamela (Gamella, Acobu, Barbados) AKA Curinsi or Acobu, is an unclassified and presumably extinct language of the Maranhão region of Northeastern Brazil. It was originally spoken along the Itapecuru River, Turiaçu River, and Pindaré River, with ethnic descendants reported to be living in Cabo and Vianna in Maranhão State.[1]

Kaufman (1994) said that 'only Greenberg dares to classify this language', due to the lack of data on it.

This is presumably the Gamela language of Viana[2] for which 19 words are recorded in Nimuendajú (1937:68).

Other varieties[edit]

Below are other extinct varieties, many of which have no data, that may have been related to Gamela.[1]

  • Arañí - once spoken between the Parnaíba River and Itapecuru River
  • Puti (Poti) - once spoken at the mouth of the Poti River (unattested)
  • Anapurú - once spoken on the right bank of the Parnaíba River (unattested)
  • Uruati - extinct language from the mouth of the Munim River, Maranhão
  • Cururi - extinct language of the neighbors of the Uruati tribe
  • Guanare - once spoken between the Itapecuru River and Parnaíba River (unattested)
  • Coroatá - once spoken on the Itapecuru River, Maranhão (unattested)
  • Guaxina - once spoken at the mouth of the Itapecuru River (unattested)
  • Curinsi - an extinct dialect of the Gamela once spoken near Vianna
  • Tacarijú - once spoken on the Longá River in the state of Piauí (unattested)


Loukotka (1968) gives three words in Gamela:[1]

  • kokeáto 'pot'
  • kyoipé 'tree'
  • anéno 'tobacco'

Gamella of Viana words recorded by Nimuendajú (1937:68) from his informant Maria Cafuza in Viana, Maranhão:[3]

gloss Gamella of Viana
fire tatá (< Tupi)
Gamella man purú
Gamella woman sebú
Negro katú-brohó
White? Indian? katú-koyaká
brother-in-law múisi
pot kokeáto
gourd bowl kutubé
club tamarána (< Tupi)
knife kasapó
jaguar yopopó
monkey kokói (< Timbira)
horse pohoné
cattle azutí
domestic fowl kure:ká
tree kyoipé
tobacco anéno
pepper birizu
thick tomabéto


  1. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Gamela of Viana". Glottolog 4.3.
  3. ^ Nimuendajú, Curt. 1937. The Gamella Indians. Primitive Man 10. 58-71.


  • Kaufman, Terrence (1994). "The native languages of South America". In Mosley, C.; Asher, R. E. (eds.). Atlas of the world's languages. London: Routledge. pp. 46–76.