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Family of South American Indian languages with at least seven subgroups, spoken or formerly spoken in scattered areas from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean and (with two exceptions) south of the Amazon River to southernmost Brazil and Paraguay. About one half of the 50 attested Tupian languages are extinct. The largest subgroup, Tupí-Guaraní, includes the extinct language Tupinambá, the source for borrowings of many New World flora and fauna terms into Portuguese and hence other European languages. Another language of the subgroup, Guaraní, is spoken as a first or second language by more than 90% of Paraguayans, who consider it a token of Paraguayan identity.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Tupian languages, visit Britannica.com.
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