Vocabulary Kali'na

The vocabulary contains 1280 meaning-word pairs ("entries") corresponding to core LWT meanings from the recipient language Kali'na. The corresponding text chapter was published in the book Loanwords in the World's Languages. The language page Kali'na contains a list of all loanwords arranged by donor languoid.

Word form LWT code Meaning Core list Borrowed status Source words

Field descriptions


It was sometimes not easy to decide which word to include in the database when different words were coexisting. I had some difficulty to choose the word most established in the language. This depends on the age of speaker, his/her dialect, personal register and situations of interaction. An example is ‘bicycle’, which present has sub-counterparts: talala, baisikɨlɨ and velo. The first is a semantic change from native word meaning ‘metallic disk used to form the round manioc bread’, a lexical form being exploited in neologisms (talala ‘wheel, bicycle’ with semantic change, talalamenpo with derivation (literally little wheel) ‘wheel, barrow’, potosu talala (literally big wheel) ‘car’; it coexists with the borrowed forms from Sranan baisikɨlɨ and French velo. The Kali’na native word seems to loose its productivity but is employed in certain situations across the dialectal boundaries. The borrowed forms have a dialectal distribution, but due to the mobilities from one place to another, the two forms may be used overall. So I kept the three forms as three sub-counterparts.


The ages were estimated following various criteria.
The Proto-Cariban reconstructed forms as attested in Gildea and Payne’s list are dated as -1000, estimation from the authors.
Other non-loanwords do not have any age estimate (‘No information’). The lack of information did not permit me to give any date of first attestation
Some nonloanwords with reference to entities that obviously entered in Kali’na culture after the Europeans received an estimate following historical background.
Loanwords from other Amerindian languages receives the mention ‘before 16th century’.
The remaining loanwords were provided with dates relatively to first attestation and gave various periods generally related with a century (‘17th, 19th or 20th century’).


Apart from the loanwords from Amerindian languages, the loanword status was not very difficult to determine. However, it was not always clear what the source word is, e.g. in the case of velo 'bicycle'. The word vélo forms part of the lexicon of Guianese French Creole as well as of French. In some cases there is no possibility to cut into one or the other. In this case I chose the French word intertwining linguistic elements, as phonological integration or intonation pattern, and sociological elements as the moment of the introduction of this object in the daily life. In reality it may have been borrowed frpm Guianese French Creole and transferred to a French pattern as is the case for an increasing number of Creole words nowadays.


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Barthelemi, Georges. 1995. Diksyonner pratik kreol gwiyane-franse ke eleman gramatical/Dictionnaire pratique creole guyanais-français précédé d’élements grammaticaux, suivi d’un index français-créole. Cayenne:Ibis Rouge Editons.
Courtz, Henk. 1997. Karaïbs Nederlands woordenboek. Paramaribo: Instituut voor Taalwetenschap.
Crevaux, J., Sagot, P. and Adam, L. 1882. “Grammaire et vocabulaires roucouyenne, arrouague, piapoco et d’autres de la région des Guyanes”. Bibliothèque linguistique américaine VIII.
Biet, Antoine. 1896. « Les Galibis : Tableau véritable de leurs moeurs avec un vocabulaire de leur langue (1661) », Rem. et publié par Aristide Massé, Revue de Linguistique, juillet/octobre, Paris.
Boyer, Paul, sieur de Petit Puy. 1654 Véritable relation de tout ce qui s’est fait et passé au voyage que M. de Bretigny fit à l’Amérique occidentale, Paris : P. Rocolet.
Friederici, Georg. 1960. “Amerikanistisches Wörtebuch und Hilfswörterbuch für den Amerikanisten”. Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiet der Auslandskunde 53. Hamburg: Cram, De Gruyter & Co.
Gildea, Spike and Doris Payne. 2007. « Is Greenberg’s Macro-Carib viable? Lingüística Histórica na América do Sul », Ana Vilacy Galucio and Pieter Muysken (eds). Boletim do Museu Emilio Goeldi, Série de Ciências Humanas. Belém: Museu Goeldi.
Goeje, Claudius H. de. 1909. « Etudes linguistiques caraïbes ». Verh. D. Kon. Ak; v. Wet. Afd. Lett. n.r. X n° 3, Amsterdam.
Grenand, Françoise.1989. Dictionnaire wayãpi-français, Paris : Peeters Selaf.
Hoff, Berend.J. 1968. The Carib language, phonology, morphonology, morphology, texts and word index, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague.
Pelleprat, Pierre.1665 Introduction à la langue des Galibis, Sauvages de la Terre Ferme de l'Amérique Méridionale, Cramoisy S. et G. Paris.
Renault-Lescure, Odile. 1985. Evolution lexicale du galibi, langue caribe de Guyane française, Paris, TDM ORSTOM, F 16.
Renault-Lescure, Odile. 1999. «Glossaire français d’origine amérindienne » in Breton, Raymond R. P.Dictionnaire caraïbe-français, Edition présentée et annotée par le CELIA et le GEREC, Paris : IRD-Karthala : 257-265.
Renault-Lescure, Odile. 1999. «Glossaire ethnolinguistique » in Breton, Raymond R. P.Dictionnaire caraïbe-français, Edition présentée et annotée par le CELIA et le GEREC, Paris : IRD-Karthala : 266-303.
Stichting Volkslectuur (onder auspicien van). 1980. Woordenlijst. Sranan, Nederlands, Englis, met een lijst van planten en dierennamen. Paramaribo: Vaco N.V.Uitgeversmaatschappij
Summer Institute of Linguistics. “Sranan-English Dictionary” in Languages of Suriname. http://www.sil.org/americas/suriname/sranan/sranan.html
Some data comes from my recent fieldword (from 1998) and others concerning the pre-colombian loanwords from Grenand, Pierre (personal communication).