|Native to||Colombia (Vaupés), Brazil (Amazonas)|
The Kakwa or Cacua language is an indigenous language spoken by a few hundred people in Colombia and Brazil. There are many monolinguals, especially children. Apart from being close to or a dialect of Nukak, its classification is uncertain.
The language is spoken by indigenous American Cacua people that live in Colombian and Brazilian interfluvial tropical forests higher than 200 metres (660 ft) in elevation. The people have traditional livelihoods such as nomadic hunting-gathering and swidden agriculture. There are some non-native speakers of Cacua that are predominantly missionary workers. Their presence has resulted in the translation of religious Christian texts, notably the Christian Bible.
Bilingualism and literacy
Reports gathered by SIL in 1982 stated that many speakers are monolingual, particularly children. Another promising aspect is that even though literacy is low by international standards, it is higher in the aboriginal language, at around 10%, compared to 5% in Spanish, the opposite situation of most indigenous languages of the Americas. Cacua uses a Latin alphabet.
The language uses both subject-object-verb and object-verb-subject word order.
Sample text in Cacua
Ded pah jwiít jwĩ jwíih cãac cha pahatji naáwát
There are two dialects: Vaupés Cacua and Macú-Paraná Cacua. Cacua is mutually intelligible with Nukak, and is considered a dialect of the latter by Martins (1999). See that article for further classification.
Other names for this language include: Macu de Cubeo, Macu de Guanano, Macu de Desano, Báda.
- Kakwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Cacua". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Cacua entry, Global Recordings
- Bogota Explosion!, Kids Ministry International
- (in Cacua) Ded pah jwiít jwĩ jw... 1997, Ethnologue
- Colombian Languages Collection of Katherine Bolaños Quiñonez at the Archive of the indigenous Languages of Latin America. Contains 43 archival recordings of over 1 hour of spoken Kakwa.