Gorgotoqui language

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Region eastern Bolivia
Extinct 17th century
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Linguist list
Glottolog None

Gorgotoqui is a currently undocumented extinct language of the Chiquitania region of the eastern Bolivian lowlands.

During the period of the Jesuit missions to Chiquitos, Gorgotoqui was the most populous language of the area. It became a lingua franca and the sole language of the Jesuit mission (ICOMOS 1990:59). A Jesuit priest[1] wrote a grammar, but no-one has been able to locate it "in recent years" (Adelaar & Muysken 2004:32), and no other documentation has survived. Thus a language that was regionally important during the colonial era disappeared under pressure from more successful indigenous peoples (Adelaar 2007:326); this appears to have occurred in under half a century (Alarcón 2001:101).

Loukotka (1968) classified Gorgotoqui as a language isolate, but Kaufman (1990) left it unclassified because of a lack of data. From comments that the several languages of the missions "had nothing in common" (Oliva & Pazos 1895:15), we can only conclude that it was not close to any other local language.


  1. ^ Kaspar Rueß (Spanish: Gaspar Ruíz), 11 November 1585, Haunstadt, Bavaria – 12 April 1624, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (O'Neill & María 2001:3432; Huonder 1899:121)


  • Willem Adelaar and Pieter Muysken (2004) The languages of the Andes. Cambridge University Press
  • Willem Adelaar (2007) "The importance of toponomy, family names and historical documentation for the study of disappearing and recently extinct languages in the Andean region", in Wetzels (ed.) Language endangerment and endangered languages: linguistic and anthropological studies with special emphasis on the languages and cultures of the Andean-Amazonian border area. CNWS Publications
  • Roberto Balza Alarcón (2001) Tierra, territorio y territorialidad indígena: un estudio antropológico sobre la evolución en las formas de ocupación del espacio del pueblo indígena chiquitano de la ex-reducción jesuita de San José. IWGIA
  • Anton Huonder (1899) Deutsche Jesuitenmissionäre des 17. Und 18. Jahrhunderts: Ein Beitrag zur Missionsgeschichte und zur deutschen Biographie. Herder
  • ICOMOS (1990) "Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos", in Advisory Body Evaluation No. 529.[1] UNESCO.
  • Terrence Kaufman (1990) "Language history in South America: What we know and how to know more". In D. L. Payne (ed.) Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages (pp. 13–67). Austin: University of Texas Press
  • Čestmír Loukotka (1968) Classification of South American Indian Languages. University of California, Los Angeles
  • Charles O'Neill & Joaquín María (2001) Diccionario histórico de la compañía de Jesús: Piatti-Zwaans. Universidad Pontificia de Comillas de Madrid
  • Anello Oliva & Juan Francisco Pazos (1895) Libro primero del manuscrito original del R.P. Anello Oliva, S.J. Imprenta y libreria de S. Pedro
  • Gaspar Ruíz (ca 1620) Gramática de la lengua gorgotoqui del Perú.