In terms of language families, Brazil is one of the most diverse language areas in the world. There are estimated to be 170 to 180 languages grouped into 24 distinct language families and 11 linguistic isolates (languages that are unrelated to other languages).1 Recent estimates for the total number of speakers of indigenous languages vary from 600,000 to 734,000. The overall population has been growing in recent years, but half of the groups have a population of less than 500, and several of them are dangerously close to extinction.2
The language families of Brazil (Portuguese)
The indigenous language program of UNB (Portuguese)
1 Rodrigues, Aryon Dall’Igna. 1986. Línguas Brasileiras: para um conhecimento das línguas indígenas. São Paulo: Edições Loyola.
2 Ricardo, Beto and Fany Ricardo, eds. 2006. Povos indígenas no Brasil: 2001-2005. São Paulo: Instituto Socioambiental, p. 17.