Indigenous Languages

Since the discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese, the tribes speak Tupi-Guarani were assimilated by the Europeans. Other were called Tapuia – which meant something like “enemy”. The Tapuias were considered by Europeans as more primitive and difficult to conquest,  hard fought and exterminated. In the early 20th century the name Tapuia, was changed for or Ge which were the indians living in the interior of the country.

Tupi language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi and Guarani. The best known and most widely spoken of these languages was Old Tupi, a modern descendent of which is still used today by Indians around the Rio Negro region, where it is known as Nheengatu, or the “fine language”. However, the Tupi family also comprises other languages. In the neighbouring Spanish colonies, Guarani, another Tupian language closely related to Old Tupi, had a similar history, but managed to resist the spread of Spanish more successfully than Tupi resisted to Portuguese. Today, Guarani has 7 million speakers, and is one of the official languages of Paraguay and Bolivia.