Definition of Cariban in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a family of South American languages scattered widely throughout Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Colombia. With the exception of Carib, they are all extinct or have few speakers.

    • ‘They don't seem to be either Arawakan or Cariban, and they don't seem to be related to Warao either.’
    • ‘The latter had two aboriginal stocks, Arawakan and Cariban, which are also found in South America.’
    • ‘Rouse suggests that Arawakan and Cariban are more useful designations for these linguistic stocks.’


mass noun
  • The Cariban family of languages.

    • ‘This is a comprehensive descriptive grammar of Trio, a Cariban language, spoken in the remote rainforest of Suriname and along the border in Brazil.’
    • ‘I have been working on the Amerindian languages of the Guianas (Cariban and Arawakan) since 1996.’
    • ‘In the aboriginal period the Cariban languages were important in the West Indies, Brazil, Peru, the Guianas, Venezuela, and Colombia.’
    • ‘By comparing negation in kari'ña with that of other languages of the same family, it is clear that it works in a very similar way in the different Cariban languages.’
    • ‘Spanish is the official language, but more than 30 Amerindian languages still survive, predominantly belonging to the Arawak, Cariban and Chibcha ethnolinguistic categories.’
    • ‘In other analyses of Cariban languages it has been claimed that the oblique (goal-case) marking of the agent of a transitive verb is indicative of ergative syntax.’