Ethnicity1,500 Mura people (1995)[1]
Native speakers
360 (2000)[1]
mostly monolingual[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3myp Pirahã (Mura)
ffg Bohura (not ISO)
 cvf Yahahi (not ISO)
The attested extent of Mura and Matanawi

Mura is a language of Amazonas, Brazil. It is most famous for Pirahã, its sole surviving dialect. Linguistically, it is typified by agglutinativity, a very small phoneme inventory (around 11 compared to around 44 in English), whistled speech, and the use of tone.

In the 19th century, there were an estimated 30,000–60,000 Mura[clarification needed]. It is now spoken by only 300 Pirahã people in eight villages.


Since at least Barboza Rodrigues (1892) [reference?], there have been three ethnic names commonly listed as dialects of Mura, or even as Muran languages. The names are:

On the basis of a minuscule amount of data, it would appear that Bohurá (Mura proper) was mutually intelligible with Pirahã; however, for Yahahí there exists only ethnographic information, and it can be assumed they spoke the same language as other Mura. Rodrigues describes the Yahahí as having come from the Branco river, a tributary of the right bank of the upper Marmelos river. The last Yahahí are said to have joined the Pirahã.

The Mura/Bohurá endonym is Buhuraen, according to Barboza Rodrigues (1892), or Buxivaray ~ Buxwarahay, according to Tastevin (1923). This was pronounced Murá by their neighbors, the Torá and Matanawi. In his vocabulary, Rodrigues lists Bohura for the people and bhurai-ada "Mura language" for the language, from the Mura of the Manicoré River; Tastevin has Bohurai and bohuarai-arase for the same. They also record,

nahi buxwara araha "That one is Mura"
yane abahi araha buxwarái "We are all Mura"

(Caution: these words need to be confirmed. The scanned text of Nimuendaju (1948) at the link has several errors, such as ⟨c⟩ for ⟨e⟩, ⟨h⟩ for ⟨b⟩, and ⟨d⟩ for ⟨á⟩.)

Genealogical relations

Mura is often proposed to be related to Matanawí. Kaufman (1994) also suggests a connection with Huarpe in his Macro-Warpean proposal.


Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items for Mura language varieties.[2]

gloss Múra Bohurá Pirahã
one huyiː
two mukui
head a-pái hana-pai a-paixi
ear ku-pái hane-apue apu-pay
tooth aro-pái haine-tué atu-pay
hand upa hane-uí upai
woman yúehẽ kairi yuéhe
water ipé
fire foai huai wái
stone atí atí begé
maize chihuha tihoʔahai chifuä
tapir kabachí kabatí kauátei

Below is a comparison of Mura and Pirahã words from Salles (2023):[3]: 959 

English gloss Mura Pirahã
long peissí piiʔi
short kutjúhi koihí
big itokúi itohí
male foreigner auí aooí
female foreigner aurí aogí
wild pig bahúis bahóisi
louse tihyhí tihíihi
flour arais ágaísi
tobacco itíhi tíhi
leaf itai tai
fire uái hoái
blood bií
bone ái
sleep aitáhus aitáhoi
die kwoabís koabaipí
drink pitaissa pitáipí
stay abaái abí
say aihyahá ahoái
sun huisí hisó
moon kaãnhê kaháíʔái
cold arí agí
feisty aupís aáopí
far kái kaáo
bad babihí baábi(hi)


  1. ^ a b c Mura at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  3. ^ Salles, Raiane (2023). "Pirahã (Apáitisí)". In Epps, Patience; Michael, Lev (eds.). Amazonian Languages: Language Isolates. Volume II: Kanoé to Yurakaré. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 957–994. ISBN 978-3-11-043273-2.