Jarawara Interlinear Texts Vol. 1


I began making the following collection of texts in 1987. The texts were originally recorded on cassette tape or in digital format, and transcribed with the help of a number of literate Jarawaras: Bibiri, Yasito, Soweo, Kakai, Ati Hiwawawi, Mioto, Taniyeo, Saiba, Eti, Arimana, Soki, Kona Abono, and Rosiyano. Many remaining questions were resolved in sessions with Okomobi, who has a true gift for language, and Botenawa and Kamo also helped to resolve some questions. The recordings were made in Casa Nova village, where the authors live (except for the five short texts by Kakai, which were recorded at a workshop in Porto Velho). The author of each text is listed at the beginning of the text. The author of each text, or a relative if the author had died, gave permission to use the texts for non-commercial purposes.

These texts should not be seen as polished written texts. All of the texts are originally oral texts, none are originally written. The recordings are unedited, and the transcriptions reflect the recordings as exactly as possible. This means, for example, that false starts, repetitions of words, and occasional grammatical mistakes are retained in the transcription. Some of these are discussed in footnotes, but most are not.

The first edition of this collection was put online in 2007. This edition is somewhat revised and greatly expanded. Most significantly, I have now included a number of stories told by Siko, who was truly a wonderful teller of stories.

I have now called this volume 1, because I have volume 2 in preparation. The program that I used to interlinearize the texts in this volume is Toolbox, but I am now using the replacement program for Toolbox, i.e. Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx), so I will begin a separate volume for these other texts. Both Toolbox and FLEx are available for free download from the SIL site (

The texts are divided into two groups, personal experience narratives and traditional stories. Most of the personal experience narratives are told in the first person, with a few of them being told in the third person. The third person stories are about people who are known to the narrator (including ancestors who the narrator may not have met, but he knows the connection to, such as a great-grandparent). The traditional stories, in contrast, concern characters in the more distant past.

The following format is used for each text. First a free translation is given of the text, and this is followed by the text in interlinear format. The first line of the interlinear format is orthographic. The second line represents underlying forms1 and morphemic divisions, the third line morpheme-by-morpheme glosses, the fourth line word classes, and the last line a sentence by sentence (or clause by clause2) translation. The sentence by sentence translation is as literal as possible, in contrast to the free translation at the beginning, which seeks to express the meaning of the text in more natural English. In the free translation, some implied information is added, participant reference (e.g. choice of a pronoun or an NP) follows the conventions of English, and some repetition is omitted.

The Jarawara orthography is pretty much phonemic and transparent, except that long vowels are not distinguished. For an explanation of the orthography, see my Jarawara-English Dictionary, which is online at the SIL-Brazil site. In the line for underlying forms, the symbol I is used to represent a morphophoneme that is realized as i or e, depending on the number of moras preceding in the word.

The following abbreviations are used:

1 - first person

EXPL - explanation

O - direct object

1EX - first person plural exclusive

+F - feminine agreement

OC - O-construction

1IN - first person plural inclusive

FP - far past

PL - plural (i.e. two or more)

2 - second person

F.PL - plural and feminine

pn - inalienably possessed noun

3 - third person

FUT - future

POSS - possessor/possessive

adj - adjective

HAB - habitual

RC - relative clause

ADJNCT - adjunct

IMMED - immediate

RECIP - reciprocal

AUX - auxiliary

IMP - imperative

REFL - reflexive

BKG - backgrounding

INT - intention

REP - reported

CAUS - causative

IP - immediate past

RP - recent past

CH - change of state

+M - masculine agreement

S - subject

COMIT - comitative

NE - non-eyewitness evidentiality

SEC - secondary verb

CONT - continuative

NEG - negative

SG - singular

CNTRFACT - contrafactual

NEG.LIST - negative list item

sp - species

CQ - content question

nf - feminine noun

SUPER - superlative

DECL - declarative

NFIN - nonfinite

vc - copular verb

DIST - distributive

nm - masculine noun

vi - intransitive verb

FUT.IMP - distant imperative

NOM - nominalized clause

voc - vocative

DUP - reduplication

NPQ - noun phrase question

vt - transitive verb

E - eyewitness evidentiality


Those wishing more information on the syntax, morphology, and phonology of Jarawara may consult R.M.W. Dixon's grammar, The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia (Oxford, 2004), and my Jarawara-English Dictionary.

Following the footnotes is a list of the texts in this volume. For each text, there is a link for the PDF file containing the text, and another link for the MP3 sound file for that text. At the end of the list, there is a link to a PDF file containing all the texts of this volume, including the introductory material.

I welcome any comments or questions, and I can be reached at [email protected].


1 In most cases the underlying forms are underlying phonological forms, but there are exceptions to this rule in two kinds of cases. First, I have not represented long vowels in the underlying forms (nor are long vowels represented in the Jarawara orthography). Information on long vowels is available in R.M.W. Dixon's grammar and in my dictionary.

Secondly, in some cases the underlying form is more morphological than it is phonological. There are vowel alternations of Jarawara verbs that are reflexes of grammatical processes, namely gender agreement and the derivation of nonfinite forms. Where an underlying morphological form can be determined, I use it instead of all the forms that result from grammatical processes. For example, the suffix -ma ‘back’ typically has only this one form in contexts where there is no gender agreement, and typically has a -ma/-me alternation in other contexts to show feminine and masculine agreement, respectively. I use -maas the underlying form in all contexts, but show gender agreement on the gloss line (‘-back+F’ or ‘-back+M’) in all contexts where the form indicates gender agreement.

Similarly, a nonfinite form is derived by changing a final a to i, but I use the form with a as the underlying form even when it is a nonfinite form. But if the form is nonfinite, I indicate this in the gloss. For example, I give the underlying form of fawi as fawa, with a gloss ‘drink.NFIN’. One of the advantages of doing things this way is that a search for all the tokens of a particular morpheme is made much easier.

2 Jarawara sentences can be quite long, so in many cases the translation corresponds to a clause rather than to a sentence, so that the stretches would not be too long. For the texts which I added for this edition, however, I kept the long stretches. As a result, the numbers correspond to sentences (according to my analysis) in the recently added texts, but not always in the texts of the earlier edition. In all cases, however, I have clearly indicated sentence divisions by punctuation and capitalization.

Note that while I thus use periods, question marks, and capitalization orthographically, in contrast I use commas phonetically, to simply indicate pauses. Some readers may find this awkward, since the pauses are often in the middle of a phrase and are not for any grammatical reason—speakers often pause just to think of what to say next—but I wanted to register this information, and could not think of any other way to do it.

List of Texts

Part I: Personal Experience Narratives

audio (0m 42s)

Okomobi (1987)

audio (0m 59s)

Botenawa (1987)

audio (0m 41s)

Kamo (1987)

audio (1m 15s)

Motobi (1987)

audio (4m 48s)

Bakoki (1987)

audio (1m 16s)

Kakai (1988)

audio (1m 46s)

Kakai (1988)

audio (0m 53s)

Kakai (1988)

audio (0m 35s)

Kakai (1988)

audio (1m 48s)

Manoware (1988)

audio (0m 37s)

Kakai (1988)

audio (2m 58s)

Manoware (1988)

audio (4m 41s)

Okomobi (1988)

audio (5m 36s)

Okomobi (1988)

audio (3m 12s)

Wero (1990)

audio (7m 52s)

Siko (1991)

audio (8m 40s)

Siko (1993)

audio (28m 28s)

Okomobi (2002)

Part II: Traditional Stories

audio (4m 26s)

Yowao (1987)

audio (4m 41s)

Siko (1987)

audio (10m 49s)

Siko (1987)

audio (16m 52s)

Siko (1987)

audio (9m 00s)

Siko (1991)

audio (11m 04s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (2m 57s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (8m 50s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (3m 41s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (2m 55s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (28m 47s)

Siko (1991)

audio (5m 10s)

Yowao (1991)

audio (45m 53s)

Siko (1992)

audio (9m 54s)

Yowao (1993)


All of the Texts in a Single PDF File

Jarawara Interlinear Texts 2  Siko's Storiess 2  Return to Brazil Resources