Indigenous Caribbean Network

The Language Group


The Language Group

For those interested in learning and revitalizing the Indigenous languages of the Caribbean. Includes, Taíno, Karifuna, Garifuna, Lokono, Wayuu, Añu (Paraujano), Warao, Carib etc. THE USE OF ANY INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE IS WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED! :)

Members: 97
Latest Activity: Apr 12, 2018

Discussion Forum

Some Karifuna (Island Carib) phrases 9 Replies

Started by Arenahi. Last reply by Angelica Feb 16, 2017.

Lokono Dian: The Arawak Language of Suriname (14MB) 7 Replies

Started by Arenahi. Last reply by Miguel Sague Jr May 28, 2015.

Taino language reconstruction or Tayiino 4 Replies

Started by Edgar Retana. Last reply by AkuTurey Mar 8, 2014.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Miguel Sague Jr on March 7, 2014 at 6:47pm

Guanabacoa=place name in Cuba

Guanabana=a fruit

Guainabo=place name in Cuba


Guiro=musical rasp instrument made from a gourd


Guajiro=country folk, a peasant


Guataka=a person that compliments another person too much

Guaribo=warrior, man

Guainabo=place name Boriken


Guaitiao= (from wa="our" and tiao="relative") a close friend or relative

Comment by Miguel Sague Jr on March 7, 2014 at 6:37pm

This is an extremely good question, brother. Over the years since I began my studies the isuue of "gua" became more and more complicated as new discoveries in the research of Arawakan languages continued to evolve and more people continued to add their opinions to the body of knowledge.

When I first began my studies back in the early 1970's I believe I remember reading in Eugenio Fernandez Memdez's book  "Art and Mythology of the Taino Indians of the Greater West Indies"  That he believed the word fragment "gua" reflected the concept of the "sacred" or "mysterious". Since that was one of the few works available on this subject back then we in the Caney Circle adopted the term"gua" to mean just that, "sacred" or "mysterious". Later research of the Arawakan languages of South America which are still spoken along the Orinoco River revealed that the term "wa" or "ua" means "our" or "ours". This explained such terms as "Wakar" which is the original Taino pronunciation of the word "Guakar". This word is a combination of a number of related terms "Wa" (our) "Ka" (harsh or strong) and "ri" (derived from the word "iri" which means menstrual cramps). This renders the name of this particular Semi as "Our Harsh Menstrual Cramps". I published an extensive study of this particular term and of the male spirit that it identifies several years ago in response to the widespread misconception that Guakar is an alternate name for the high mother spirit  Ata Bei. Click this LINk for that research piece.  

So now we know that in many cases the word fragment "gua" may really have been the term "wa" or "oa" without the "g" sound. But that does not mean that there may not really have been some words that legitimately did have a "gua" sound in them. It is very difficult to sort out these fine distinctions in a language that is no longer used in common discourse. There is a whole universe of Taino origin words deeply imbedded in the Spanish spoken in the Greater West Indies, in Cuba, Boriken (Puerto Rico), Kiskeya (Dominican Republic), Haiti and the other islands, thousands of them. It is a tedious task to sort through all of these words and find the original pronunciation and what they actually meant. The Taino Resurgence Movement is working on this and the coming years will give us more and more answers to these questions.

Comment by Jeffry Johnson on March 7, 2014 at 2:35pm
Takaji my relatives!
I have a question about the pronunciation of "gua" as in Guakar or Gua Turei or Guaraguao. I have heard some people pronounce (or write) the "g" as in the English word "get" and others pronounce (or write) it with an "o" or "w" sound - "Oakar" or "Wakar." Anyone have guidance about those differences? Is it a regional dialect sort of thing? Hahom, Jeffry
Comment by Anani on July 2, 2013 at 9:40am

Yay! I'm so glad this is here, I've been wanting to learn for ages. I can only ever find the Taino language on the    and the    websites. Thank you!

Comment by Edgar Rodriguez(Kunuku Ceiba) on June 20, 2013 at 10:05pm

tauka I am way way behind on my Taino language skills

Comment by Ignacio G. Rivera on June 7, 2013 at 6:32pm

Bo'matum Itou Joanna!! This was extremely helpful. I appreciate you taking the time. 

Seneko Kakona, 


Comment by Joanna 'Aya' Soto-Avilés on June 7, 2013 at 4:27pm

While I make no claims to be an expert, given what I understand at this time, "Brother" = "Tiao" and "Sister" = "Itou". 

"Gua-", "Da-", "Na-" and "Bu-" are possessive pronoun prefixes meaning "Our-", "My-", "Their-", and "Your-" in Taíno. 

In Arahuaco Lokono, "Wa-" = "Our-", "Da-" = "My-", "Bu-" = "Your-", and "Na-" = "Their-". 

For example (in Taíno), "Guatiao" = "Our Brother", "Datiao" = My Brother, "Natiao"= "Their Brother", "Butiao" = "Your Brother", "Guaitou" = "Our Sister", "Ditiou" = "My Sister", "Nitou" = "Their Sister", "Bitou" = Your Sister", "Guaka" = "We Are", "Daka" = "I Am", "Naka" = They Are", "Buka" = "You Are", etc.). 

Please note that there is some debate going on regarding "Da" and "Na", and which one means "My-" and which one means "Their-".  You will also note that where there are two vowels together, one vowel is generally dropped (i.e., instead of "Naitou" for "Their Sister", it is "Nitou").

There are, obviously, more pronouns and prefixes depending on whether you are speaking in the first person, second person or third person, and whether it is plural, singular, feminine or masculine. 

Again, I do not claim to be an expert but this is what I know at this time.  It should also be noted that there are some people who use "Aturo" for "Sister" but I do not know from where they get this information. You will find that many will use Iñieri, Carib, Arahuaco Lokono, and/or Island Lokono words (and words from other languages) to fill in the gaps when the Taíno word is not known (which probably accounts for the debate going on regarding "Da" and "Na", and which one means "My-" and which one means "Their-").  In addition to all this, new words will need to be created for things that did not exist previously (i.e., television, computers, etc.).  Needless to say, all of this presents quite a challenge in the reconstruction our language.

However, rest assured that there is a lot of research going on right now and work being done by different groups to confirm (or refute) what we currently know as well as to determine how our language developed and grew with the goal being the creation of a comprehensive dictionary and a language immersion program but it is still a work in progress. 

Hope this information is helpful.

Comment by Ignacio G. Rivera on June 7, 2013 at 11:10am

Takaji everyone! 

Does anyone know the Taino word for sister? I know mother (Bibi) , father (Baba) and brother (natiao), but not sister. 

Comment by Joanna 'Aya' Soto-Avilés on May 9, 2013 at 4:21pm

I will comment, however, that I have also heard "Hahóm" pronounced with the H almost silent and I tend to go with that myself.  I remember as a little girl, when we would see the Guaraguao as a messenger, we would say "Hahóm" to give thanks for the message and it would sound like the first H is almost silent, the second H would sound like the H in Hello, and the m would be silent.  Now you can see why there is still much work to be done before we can combine everyone's efforts to create a comprehensive Taíno dictionary complete with syntax, grammar, pronunciations, recordings, diagrams and descriptions/explanations. :)

Comment by Joanna 'Aya' Soto-Avilés on May 9, 2013 at 4:16pm

Yes.  That is why you will see it sometimes spelled Jajóm because they are using Spanish phonetics which indicates that it is pronounced like the H in English phonetics which is like the H in Hello.


Members (96)



La Bruja

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016 at 12:07am. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016.

Angel Rodriguez Caguana archeoastronomy

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016 at 3:10pm. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016.




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