Nheengatu is a Tupí-Guarani language with about 3,000 speakers in Brazil, 3,000 in Colombia and 2,000 in Venezuela. In Brazil the language is spoken mainly along the Rio Negro, and is also known as língua geral da Amazônia or língua geral amazônica, or "Amazonian General Language". It is also known as nhengatu, nyengatú, língua geral, geral or yeral.
Nheengatu developed from tupinambá, a language spoken by the Tupi people on the north coast of Brazil in Maranhão and Pará. It was standardised by Jesuit missionaries during the 17th century and became the lingua franca throughout much of Brazil between missionaries, settlers of European origin and the indigenous peoples. Use of Nheengatu diminished after Portuguese was imposed by the Marquis of Pombal in 1758 and the after the Jesuits were expelled from Brazil in 1759, and also as a result of increased immigration from Portugual Today Nheengatu has offical status in municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira in Brazil's Amazonas State.
Nheengatu is closely related to Paraguayan Guaraní and there is considerably mutually intelligibility between the two languages.
Brasil, ker pi upé, coaracyáua,
Çaiçú í çaarúçáua çui ouié,
Marecê, ne yuakaupé, poranga.
Ocenipuca Curuça iepé!
Brasil, um sonho intenso, um raio vívido,
De amor e de esperança à terra desce,
Se em teu formoso céu, risonho e límpido,
A imagem do Cruzeiro resplandece.
Brazil, an intense dream, a vivid ray
of love and hope descends to earth
if in thy lovely, smiling and clear skies
the image of the (Southern) Cross shines resplendently.
Part of the Brazilian national anthem
Information about Nheengatu
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