Among the approximately 150 Indian languages spoken in Brazil today, some have more similarities with each other than with others, which reveals common origins and diversification processes that took place over the years.

Experts on the knowledge of languages (linguists) express the similarities and differences among them through the idea of linguistic branches and families. Branches mean languages whose common origins are very old, and the similarities among them are very subtle. Among the languages of the same family, on the other hand, the similarities are greater, which is the result of a separation that took place not so long ago. See the example of the Portuguese language:


In the universe of Indigenous tongues in Brazil, there are two large branches - Tupi and Macro-Jê - and 19 linguistic families that do not have enough similarities to be grouped into branches. There are also families with a single tongue, sometimes called ‘isolated languages’, because they have no similarity with any other known language.

Very few Indigenous tongues have been studied in detail in Brazil. For that reason, the knowledge that exists about them is constantly revised.

Get to know the Brazilian Indigenous tongues, grouped in families and branches, according to the classification made by Professor Ayron Dall’Igna Rodrigues. It is a revision especially made for ISA in September of 1997 of the information published in his book Línguas brasileiras – para o conhecimento das línguas indígenas (São Paulo, Edições Loyola, 1986, 134 pages).

Source abel about Portuguese language: Raquel F. A. Teixeira - "As línguas indígenas no Brasil" . In: A temática indígena na escola - novos subsídios para professores de 1º e 2º graus, Brasília: MEC/ Mari/ Unesco, organized by Aracy Lopes da Silva and Luís Donisete Benzi Grupioni).



Tupi branch



Macro-Jê branch


Other families