Ninam language

Yanam, or Ninam, is a Yanomaman language spoken in Roraima, Brazil (800 speakers) and southern Venezuela near the Mucajai, upper Uraricaá, and Paragua rivers.

Native toBrazil, Venezuela
Native speakers
800 in Brazil (2010)[1]
100 in Venezuela (no date)[2]
including 430 Yaroamë (2015)
  • Yanam
Language codes
ISO 639-3shb


Yanam is also known by the following names: Ninam, Yanam–Ninam, Xirianá, Shiriana Casapare, Kasrapai, Jawaperi, Crichana, Jawari, Shiriana, Eastern Yanomaman.

Regional variation

Gordon (2009) reports 2 main varieties (Northern, Southern). Kaufman (1994) reports 3:

  1. Yanam (a.k.a. Northern Yanam/Ninam (Xiliana, Shiriana, Uraricaa-Paragua))
  2. Ninam (a.k.a. Southern Yanam/Ninam (Xilixana, Shirishana, Mukajai))
  3. Jawarib

The name Jawari is shared with Yaroamë.


Yanam has seven base vowels: /a, e, ə, i, ɨ, o, u/. Yanam has both vowel length and nasalization, and both features can occur simultaneously, for all vowels except for /ɨ/.[4]

Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain aspirated
Stop p t k
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative s ʃ h
Nasal m n
Approximant j
Flap ɾ


  1. Yanam at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Ninam at Ethnologue (10th ed., 1984). Note: Data may come from the 9th edition (1978).
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ninam". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. "SAPhon – South American Phonological Inventories". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The native languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the world's languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.
  • Migliazza, Ernest; & Grimes, J. E. (1961). Shiriana phonology. Anthropological Linguistics. (June).

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