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Baniva del Guainia Language (Avani, Ayane, Abane)

Language: Baniva is an Arawakan language of eastern Colombia and southwestern Venezuela. The Baniva language was thought by linguists to be extinct until recently, when it was found that one village in Venezuela is still Baniva-speaking. A second language, called Baniva do Icana, is spoken in Brazil but is only distantly related to Baniva del Guainia--the two languages are said to be no more closely related than English and Russian. Baniva del Guainia is a polysynthetic language with predominantly SVO word order.

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Names: Baniva is the name for the tribe in the language of the neighboring Nhengatu people, where it means "manioc people" (Arawakan communities like the Baniva have traditionally relied heavily on farming manioc, a root-like plant crop.) The Baniva of Guainia and the Baniwa of Icana have always been politically distinct from each other and their languages are only distantly related, but they share similar agricultural techniques, so the Nhengatu called them both 'manioc farmers'. This name is more often spelled "Baniva" in reference to the Baniva of Guainia, who live in Venezuela and Colombia, and "Baniwa" in reference to the Baniwa of Icana, who live in Brazil, but that doesn't have anything to do with the name the Nhengatu call them (which is the same)-- only with the differing spelling conventions of the Spanish and Portuguese languages which are dominant in those two countries. Other spellings and name variants used for the Baniva include Baníva, Banibo, Abani, Abane, Avani, Ayane, Baniva del Guainia, Baniva del Guainía, and Baniva-Yavitero. Another Arawakan tribe that once lived in Colombia, the Quirruba, may have been a Baniva subgroup (their language was not well recorded but is considered to have been a Baniva dialect by some linguists.)

Our Online Baniva Materials

Baniva Words:
    Our list of vocabulary words in the Baniva del Guainía language, with comparison to words in other Arawakan languages.
Baniva Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Baniva words.
Baniva Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Baniva language.

Baniva Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources

Languages of the Amazon:
    Linguistic information about Baniwa of Guainia and dozens of other Amazonian languages.
Lexico baniva:
    Spanish-Baniva dictionary.

Baniva Language Resources

Baniva:
    Language information about Baniva del Guainia. Page in Spanish.
Ethnologue: Baniva:
    Demographic information on the Baniva language.
Baniva Language Tree:
    Theories about Baniva's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.

Baniva Culture and History

Baniva Ethnography:
    Anthropological data regarding the Baniva Indians and their society.
The Life of the Indian Tribes of South Venezuela:
    Online museum exhibit on the culture of the Bare, Piapoco, Warekena, Curripaco, and Baniva tribes.
Los Banivas * Pueblo Baniva * Los Baniva o Baniwa:
    Information about the Baniva tribe in Spanish.

Links, References, and Additional Information

Baniwa of Guainia:
Encyclopedia article on the Baniva language.



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