The language has also been called both Asháninca and Campa; the latter of which is considered by the Asháninka to be offensive, as it derives from the Quechua word thampa, meaning ragged and dirty. Like all languages that have a predominance in any particular region of Perú, Asháninka is an official language in the area in which it is spoken, as provided by the Constitution. Literacy rates range from 10% to 30%, compared to 15% to 25% literacy for the second language, Spanish.
The Campa (or Pre-Andean) group of the Maipurean language family includes what have been called Asháninka, Gran Pajonal Campa, Ashéninka, Axaninca, Machiguenga, and Nomatsiguenga. As these are all very closely related linguistic systems, the decision to call them dialects of a single language or different languages rests on social and political considerations rather than linguistic similarity or difference, as in so many other places in the world. Attempts to unify the varieties with one written standard have not been successful.