TTK’s Gualín: learn about the language created in a neighborhood in RJ with its own structure

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The territory of continental proportions and an ethnically and culturally diverse population of more than 210 million people make Brazil a land rich in languages.

According to the last Demographic Census carried out in 2010 by the IBGE, the country recorded 274 indigenous languages ​​spoken by 305 ethnic groups.

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Among the hundreds of languages ​​spoken in Brazil, did you know that there is a language created in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, more specifically in the neighborhood of Catete? We are talking about TTK Gualín .


Gualín, for its ability to ‘encrypt’ the message, was an instrument of resistance and cohesion

Felipe Vital, researcher and specialist in linguistics

When the city of Rio de Janeiro was still the capital of Brazil, the Palácio do Catete (today the Museum of the Republic) was the official residence of the presidents of the Republic. Important figures in Brazilian politics lived there, such as Getúlio Vargas and Juscelino Kubitschek.

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Even after Brasilia became the capital of Brazil, the Palácio do Catete continued as one of the great representations of Brazilian politics. Therefore, the place was marked by several protests and demonstrations against the Brazilian military dictatorship, established in the early 60s.

Aiming to escape the repression of the time, the population of the neighborhood created a way to communicate to circumvent the censorship of the military power, according to researcher and specialist in linguistics Felipe Vital. Thus, TTK’s Gualín was born.

“Gualín emerged in the neighborhood of Catete in the context of the military dictatorship. The Catete-Glória-Lapa triangle, also known as ‘KGL’ nowadays in local culture, was a stronghold of various social groups opposed to the military government,” he says.

Operation of Gualín

According to the linguistic specialist, TTK’s Gualín consists of changing the syllable order of words. For example, TTK means Catete: when said backwards, Catete becomes “Teteca”.

“In terms of textual construction, Gualín is structured around short, relatively simple sentences that are easily accessible to the mind. In general, nouns, adjectives and verbs suffer inversion”, points out Felipe.

The language is not exclusive to the neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. In several countries there are examples of similar languages, which change the order of syllables to create a different form of communication.

Among TTK’s sister languages, we have ludykia, spoken in Uganda; The see, in Peru; it’s the Verlanin France.

Influence on Rio culture

TTK’s Gualín helped promote a strong urban culture in the city of Rio de Janeiro, according to the linguist. Catete, the neighborhood of origin of the language, has links with rap through graffiti and nationally renowned rappers such as Filipe Ret, Marcelo D2 and Sain.

According to the expert, language, in addition to being a communication resource, also represents identity formation and belonging to “subversive groups”. Gualín went from being a “censored” mechanism to becoming a symbol of graffiti and skateboarding cultures, empowered by the rise of rap.

In addition to the influence on Rio’s urban culture, Felipe emphasizes the importance of Gualín’s existence as a Brazilian cultural wealth.

“As a linguist, it is a great pleasure to accompany and describe the transformations that languages ​​undergo. Word games, or slang, in addition to linguistic variation itself, transform the language in several dimensions and this is a demonstration of the vivacity of the culture and people”, he says.

One of the representatives of the language and born in Catete, rapper Filipe Ret created a song in 2021 totally in the TTK language. “Tribute to TTK” also featured BK’, Sain and Mãolee.

Amazon Music also produced, with Ret directing, a mini-documentary on the origin and cultural importance of TTK’s Gualín.

Source: CNN Brasil

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