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Boe Wadáru is the term used by the Bororo to designate their original tongue. Linguists Rivet (1924) and Schmidt (1926) classified it as isolated and possibly linked to the Otuké branch. Later a new paradigm simplified the classification of Indian languages, grouping them together according to certain similarities, and the bororo language was placed in the Macro-Jê linguistic branch (Manson,1950; Greenberg,1957).

Today the bororo language is spoken by almost the entire Bororo population. But until the end of the 1970s, The Salesian Indigenous Mission subjected children and teenagers to a school system that prohibited the use of the native tongue to be spoken in the villages of Meruri and Sangradouro. A process of re-evaluation and auto-criticism by the Salesian missionaries ended up with the rescue of the original language and in bilingual education. Thus nowadays in all Bororo villages the majority of the population speaks Portuguese and Bororo. In daily life, the language used is Bororo, with neologisms assimilated from regional Portuguese, which is used only in inter-ethnic contacts.

Paulo Serpa
anthropologist and ISA collaborator
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