isolate, possibly Arawakan
Location of Munichi
Munichi is a recently extinct language which was spoken in the village of Munichis, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Yurimaguas, Loreto Region, Peru. In 1988, there were two mother-tongue speakers, but they had not met since the 1970s. The last known fluent speaker, Victoria Huancho Icahuate, died in the late 1990s. As of 2009 there were several semi-speakers who retained significant lexical, and partial grammatical, knowledge of the language (Michael et al. 2013).
The language is considered an isolate (Michael et al. 2013), but the pronominal suffixes bear a close resemblance to those reconstructed for proto-Arawakan, and some lexical items are similar to ones in Arawakan languages. There is no evidence, however, for placing the language in any established Arawakan subgroup. There is substantial borrowing from the local variety of Quechua, and to a lesser extent from Spanish and Cahuapanan languages (Michael et al. 2013).
- Gibson, Michael L. 1996. El Munichi: Un idioma que se extingue. Serie Lingüística Peruana, 42. Pucallpa: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano. Available here.
- Michael, Lev, Stephanie Farmer, Greg Finley, Christine Beier, and Karina Sullón Acosta. 2013. A sketch of Muniche segmental and prosodic phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics 79(3):307-347.
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