Charruan languages

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Ethnicity Charrúa people
Uruguay and Entre Ríos Province, Argentina
Linguistic classification Mataco–Guaicuru ?
  • Charruan
Glottolog char1238[1]
Pre-contact distribution of the Charruan languages

The Charruan languages are an extinct group of languages once spoken in Uruguay and the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. In 2005 a semi-speaker of Chaná language was found.[2]

Four languages are considered to definitively belong to the Charruan language family:[3]

A number of unattested languages are also presumed to belong to the Charruan family:[3]

  • Bohane – spoken near Maldonado, Uruguay
  • Calchine – spoken in Santa Fe Province, Argentina, along the Salado River
  • Caracañá – spoken along the Caracañá River, Santa Fe
  • Chaná-Mbegua or Begua – spoken on the Paraná River between Crespo and Victoria
  • Colastiné – spoken in Santa Fe Province near Colastiné
  • Corondá – spoken in Coronda, Santa Fe Province
  • Guaiquiaré – spoken in Entre Ríos on the Arroyo Guaiquiraré
  • Mocoreta or Macurendá or Mocolete – spoken along the Mocoretá River in Entre Ríos
  • Pairindi – spoken in Entre Ríos from Corrientes to the Feliciano River
  • Timbu – spoken in Gaboto, Santa Fe Province
  • Yaro – spoken in Uruguay between the Río Negro and the San Salvador River

Vocabulary Comparison[edit]

The Charruan languages are poorly attested. However, sufficient vocabulary has been gathered for the languages to be compared:[3]

English Charrua Chaná Güenoa
eye i-xou
ear i-mau
hand guar mbó
water hué atá
sun dioi
dog samayoí lochan
tree huok
one ugil yut
two sam usan
three detí detit

Genetic relations[edit]

Jorge Suárez includes Charruan with Guaicuruan in a hypothetical Waikuru-Charrúa stock. Morris Swadesh includes Charruan along with Guaicuruan, Matacoan, and Mascoyan within his Macro-Mapuche stock. Both proposals appear to be obsolete.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Charruan". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ La Nación, "Investigan los orígenes de una extraña lengua indígena" 2005/July/01
  3. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968), Classification of South American Indian Languages, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center