Huarpean languages

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Ethnicity Huarpe people
Cuyo Province, Argentina
Linguistic classification Macro-Warpean ?
Macro-Jibaro ?
  • Huarpean
Glottolog huar1251[1]

Huarpe (Warpe) was a small language family of central Argentina (historic Cuyo Province) that consisted of two closely related languages, traditionally considered dialects, that were documented: Allentiac (Alyentiyak, Huarpe) and Millcayac (Milykayak). A third, Puntano of San Luis, was not documented before the languages became extinct.

Kaufman (1994) tentatively linked Huarpe to the Mura-Matanawi languages in a family he called Macro-Warpean. However, he noted that "no systematic study" had been made, so that it is best to consider them independent families. Swadesh and Suárez both connected Huarpe to Macro-Jibaro, a possibility that has yet to be investigated.


The two languages had apparently similar sound systems, and were not dissimilar from Spanish, at least from the records we have. Barros (2007) reconstructs the consonants as follows:

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive p t k
Affricate ts
Fricative s ʃ h
Semivowel w j (ɰ)
Lateral l ʎ
Trill r

Allentiac had at least five vowels, written a, e, i, o, ù. The ù is thought to represent the central vowel [ɨ].


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Huarpean". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.