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Carib language

Native to Venezuela, the Guianas, a few in Brazil
Ethnicity Kali'na
Native speakers
7,400 (2001–2007)[1]
  • Guianan Carib
    • Carib
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-2 car
ISO 639-3 car
Glottolog gali1262[2]

Carib or Kalina is a Cariban language spoken by the Kalina people (Caribs) of South America. It is spoken by around 7,400 people mostly in Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil.


  • Names 1
  • Dialects 2
  • Alphabet 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The language is known by several names to both its speakers and outsiders. Traditionally it has been known as "Carib" in English, after its speakers, called the "Caribs" in English. It is known Caribe in Spanish, Galina in French, and Karaïeb in Dutch. However, the speakers call themselves Kalina or Karìna (variously spelled), and call their language Karìna auran [kaɽiɁnʲauɽaŋ].[3] Other variants include Kali'na, Cariña, Kariña, Kalihna, Kalinya; other native names include Maraworno and Marworno.


Carib dialects (with number of speakers indicated in parentheses):[4]

  • Venezuelan Carib (1000)
  • Guyanese Carib (2000)
  • Western Surinamese Carib (500)
  • Eastern Surinamese and French Guianese Carib (3000)


The Carib alphabet consists of 15 letters: a, e, i, j, k, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u, w, and y.[5]


  1. ^ Carib at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Galibi Carib".  
  3. ^ Courtz, Henk (2008). A Carib Grammar and Dictionary (PDF). Magoria Books. p. 1.  
  4. ^ Courtz, Henk (2008). A Carib Grammar and Dictionary (PDF). Magoria Books. p. 5.  
  5. ^ Courtz, Henk (2008). A Carib Grammar and Dictionary (PDF). Magoria Books. p. 16.  

External links

  • Ka'lina (Carib) Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database)
  • Surinamese Carib - English Online Dictionary
  • Audio resources from the MPI-PL archive for linguistic resources, which origin from data collected by dr. Berend Hoff in the period 1955-1965
  • How to count in Kali’na

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