Language name and locationː Trumai, Mato Grosso state, Brazil [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区特鲁迈语, 巴西西部马托格罗索州兴古河流域兴古国家公园


1. mihin

2. huʃ

3. huʃt̪ ahmɛ  (lit: 'two- ?)         

4. pinɛ pinɛkt̪ ɛ len (lit: 'group of friends')

5. inɛ kʼad kɛlan (lit: 'in the fingers of a hand')

6. kʼad kɛl wakpɛʃkun (lit: 'a finger of the hand crossed') or mihin apa wakpɛʃkun

7. huʃ kʼad kɛl wakpɛʃkun   (lit: 'two fingers of the hand crossed')

8. huʃt̪ ahmɛ kʼad kɛl wakpɛʃkun  (lit: 'three fingers of the hand crossed')

9. pinɛ pinɛkt̪ ɛ len kʼad kɛl wakpɛʃkun  (lit: 'four fingers of the hand crossed')

10. kʼad kɛl wanlekan  (lit: 'it finished the fingers of the hands' )

11. huʃ kʼad kɛl wanlekan, mihin apa wakpɛʃkun (lit:'two fingers crossed to the foot')

12. huʃ kʼad kɛl wanlekan, huʃ apa wakpɛʃkun

13. huʃ kʼad kɛl wanlekan, huʃt̪ ahmɛ apa wakpɛʃkun 

14. huʃ kʼad kɛl wanlekan, pinɛ pinɛkt̪ ɛ len apa wakpɛʃkun 

15. huʃ kʼad kɛl wanlekan, inɛ kʼad kɛlan apa wakpɛʃkun

16. mihin (pit̪sʼ), pit̪sʼ kɛl wakpɛʃkun  (lit: 'one foot, one finger crossed')

17. mihin huʃ pit̪sʼ kɛl wakpɛʃkun 

18. mihin, huʃt̪ ahmɛ pits̪ʼ kɛl wakpɛʃkun

19. mihin, pinɛ pinɛkt̪ ɛ len pit̪sʼ kɛl wakpɛʃkun

20. pitsʼ kɛl wanlekan (lit: 'it finished the fingers of the foot')


Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Raquel Guirardello-Damian, University of the West of England, UK. / State University of Campinas-Unicamp Brazil, February 4, 2009.

提供资的语言: Dr. Raquel Guirardello-Damian, 2009 年 2 月 4 日.


Other comments: Trumai is a nearly extinct language with 51 speakers left within 250 ethnic population in Mato Grosso state: Xingú Park, source of Xingú river, villages along banks, Brazil.

1) In Trumai, higher numerals are built on the basis of the lower ones, and they
    involve the words for 'hand' (kʼad), 'foot' (pitsʼ) and 'finger' (k
ɛl ; apa).

2) The numerals 1-10 were obtained with several native speakers of Trumai.
    The consultants offer the same data for the numerals 1-5. They diverge with
    regard to the higher numerals: some consultants use the word apa, others use k
    There is a semantic difference between these two words: k
ɛl is 'finger' related to
    the rest of the hand (kʼad) - i.e., we talk about the finger, but the rest of the hand

    is also evoked. Apa is just 'finger' - i.e. the focus is only the part of the hand that

    corresponds to what we call 'finger' in English. Although speakers offer numerals
    from 1 to 10 during elicitation, in daily life they usually use only the numerals
    from 1 to 5 (these numerals can be found in conversations and in texts). For
    higher amounts, speakers show the fingers (for example, a woman says "Buy
    knives for me, like this" and shows 7 fingers. This means that she wants 7 knives).

3) The numerals 11-20 were obtained with one speaker only. They are never used
    in daily life. Some speakers not even know them. Maybe this is why we find
    variation in their forms (note that the consultant sometimes use the word apa,
     sometimes k

4) The overall analysis for Trumai numerals is this:

    For the forms 6-9, we can say that the idea of 5 is implicit. The logic is this: 
    you counted all the fingers of one hand = 5; now you cross and go to the other
    hand, adding its fingers.
    For the forms 11-15, the idea of 10 is implicit. The logic is this: you finished 
    counting the fingers of the hands = 10; now you start counting the fingers of 
    one foot. 
     For the forms 16-19, the idea of 15 is implicit. The logic is this: you counted all
    the fingers of  the hands (10) and all the fingers of one foot (5) = 15; 
    now you cross and go to the other foot, adding its fingers.

 5) With regard to the numeral 3:

     Although we can analyze the term into two parts (huʃ + t ̪ahmɛ), it is not
     possible to determine the meaning of  the second part (
t ̪ahmɛ). I have asked my
     consultants, but they do not know it; they just know the meaning of the whole
     t̪ahmɛ does not occur elsewhere in the language, and any speculations about its
     original meaning are just  speculations. It does not mean 'other' (the word for
     'other' is
amonkɛ). It does not mean 'second' either (there are no ordinal numerals
     in Trumai. In order to indicate the position of an entity in a sequence, the
     speakers use descriptive terms such as 'the one in the front', 'the one near it', 'the
     one in the middle', 'the one in the back').

      Maybe t̪ahmɛ was originally a modifier meaning something like 'a bigger X'. I
     speculate this because the language has a special modifier for indicating that a
     particular entity is a big version of another entity. It could be that
t̪ahmɛ was a
     modifier of the same type - but this is just my speculation.


   Phonetic chart of the Trumai language

   Table 1. The consonants of  Trumai  (I.P.A.)








Voiceless Stops     




    t ̪











Voiced Stop

































































              Table 2. The vowels of  Trumai (I.P.A.)


















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