Baniwa do Icana is an Arawakan language of South America,
spoken by 6000 people in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. Baniwa is very closely related to the
which are sometimes collectively referred to by linguists as Karu.
A third language, called
Baniva de Guainia,
is spoken in Venezuela and Colombia but is only distantly related to Baniva do Icana--the two languages are
said to be no more closely related than English and Russian. Baniwa do Icana is a
polysynthetic language with predominantly
SVO word order.
Thanks for your interest in Native American languages!
Names:Baniwa is the name for the tribe in the language of the neighboring
Nhengatu people, where it means "manioc people"
(Arawakan communities like the Baniwa have traditionally relied heavily on farming manioc, a root-like plant crop.) The Baniwa of Icana
and the Baniva of Guainia 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.
Though the Baniwa people accept this name, they refer to themselves in their own language as Walimanai
("the living generations," as opposed to the ancestors) and their language as Waku (which means "speech.")
Some Baniwa people also use the name Wakuenai, which means "speakers of our language."
Alternate spellings for these names include Baníwa, Baniua, Baniba, Maniba, Maniva,
Baniwa do Içana, Baniua do Içana, Baniua Içana, Baniua do Icana, Baniva del Isana,
Izana, Issana, Baniwa-Kurripako, Curripaco-Baniva, Karútana-Baniwa, Karútiana-Baniva, Wáku, and Wakuénai.
Important Baniwa subgroups include the Siusi
(or Walipere-Dakenai), the Tatú (or Adzaneni,)
the Kawa (or Maulieni), the Hohodene, the Dzauinai,
the Moriwene (or Sucuriyu), the Ira, and the Kadaupuritana
(variously spelled as Ualiperi, Siuci, Siusy, Seuci, Suici, Hohodena, Hohodené, Adzáneni, Adzanene, Tatu, Kawá, Katapolitana, Catapolitani, and
Kadawapurítana.) These names can sometimes also be heard as compound words such as Siusi-Tapuya, Kawa-Tapuya, Ira-Tapuya, and so on.
"Tapuya" is just a Tupi-Guarani word for "outsider," and is appended to the names of many non-Tupi Brazilian tribes.