Awa Pit language
|Native to||Colombia, Ecuador|
|Native speakers||13,000 (2008)|
Awa or Awa pit, also known as Cuaiquer, is a Barbacoan language spoken by the Awa-Kwaiker people, who inhabit territory straddling northern Ecuador and southern Colombia (the language is sometimes also referred to as Coaiquer, Quaiquer, or Kwaiker in Colombia, and as Awapit in Ecuador). Awa pit is classified by UNESCO as a severely endangered language.
Speakers and characteristics
The Awa pit language has around 21 thousand speakers, mostly residing on the Colombian Pacific slopes of the Andes, with about a thousand in an adjacent area of Ecuador. While most men also speak Spanish, the women and children are predominantly monolingual. Literacy among Awa speakers is less than 1% in their native language and under 5% in the secondary Spanish language.
The Awa pit language has a subject–object–verb structure and has adopted the Latin script. Grammatically, Awa pit uses a characteristic conjunct/disjunct system of verb suffixes for person-marking which displays similarities with some Tibeto-Burman languages, such as the Newari language of Kathmandu.
The Awa pit inventory is as follows:
- Awa Pit reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Awa–Cuaiquer, per SIL, Ethnologue, 1986 and 1991. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Haboud, Marleen; Adelaarurl, Willem (2008). "Awapit" . In: Moseley, Christopher, ed (2010). Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edn, Paris. UNESCO Publishing (online version). Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Curnow, Timothy Jowan (1997). A Grammar of Awa Pit (Cuaiquer): An indigenous language of south-western Colombia. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Curnow, Timothy Jowan (2 May 2002). "Conjunct/disjunct marking in Awa Pit". Linguistics – An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences 40(3):611-627.(subscription required)
- Cysouw, Michael (2003). "The Paradigmatic Structure of Person Marking", p 43–44. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199554263
- Curnow, Timothy Jowan; Liddicoat, Anthony J (1998). "The Barbacoan languages of Colombia and Ecuador". Anthropological Linguistics 40(3):384-408.(subscription required)
- "Cuaiquer Indian Language (Awa Pit, Awa-Cuaiquer)" – Native-Languages.org
- "Gramática pedagógica del Awapit" (A learner's grammar of Awapit) – direct download link to Microsoft Word document in Spanish, available from here (via Sasiku Project)