Chipaya language

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Chipay taqu
Native toBolivia
RegionOruro Department
Native speakers
1,800 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3cap
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Chipaya (endolinguonym Chipay taqu) is a native South American language of the Uru–Chipaya language family. The only other language in the grouping, Uru, is considered by some to be a divergent dialect of Chipaya. Ethnologue lists the language vitality as "vigorous," with 1,800 speakers out of an ethnic population of around 2,100, although younger generations speak it progressively less.[1] Chipaya has been influenced considerably by Aymara, the Quechuan languages, and more recently, Spanish, with a third of its vocabulary having been replaced by those languages.

The Chipayan language is spoken in the area south of Lake Titicaca along the Desaguadero River in the mountains of Bolivia and mainly in the town of Chipaya located in the Sabaya Province of the Bolivian department of Oruro north of Coipasa Salt Flats. Native speakers generally refer to it as Chipay taqu or Puquina or Uchun Maa Taqu ("our mother language"), but is not the same as, nor in fact even related to, the extinct Puquina language. Chipaya is an agglutinative language, though it has features uncommon to most agglutinative languages, according to preliminary research by the organization DOBES.



  Labial Dental/
Retroflex Post-alv./
Velar Uvular
plain labialized plain labialized
Nasal   m  /m/   n  /n/     ň  /ɲ/   ŋ  /ŋ/      
Plosive plain   p  /p/   t  /t/       k  /k/    /kʷ/   q  /q/    /qʷ/
aspirated   ph  /pʰ/   th  /tʰ/       kh  /kʰ/     qh  /qʰ/  
ejective   p'  /pʼ/   t'  /tʼ/       k'  /kʼ/     q'  /qʼ/  
Affricate plain     ¢  /ts/   ĉ  /tʂ/   č  /tʃ/        
aspirated     ¢h  /tsʰ/   ĉh  /tʂʰ/   čh  /tʃʰ/        
ejective     ¢'  /tsʼ/   ĉ'  /tʂʼ/   č'  /tʃʼ/        
Fricative     z  /s̪/   s  /s/   ŝ  /ʂ/     h  /x/    /xʷ/   x  /χ/    /χʷ/
Rhotic     r  /r/            
Lateral central     l  /l/     ll  /ʎ/        
fricative     lj  /ɬ/            
Approximant         y  /j/     w  /w/    

Consonant clusters[edit]

Multiple possibilities are separated by slashes, and optional elements are enclosed in parentheses.

Possible syllable onsets are:

  • (s/ŝ) + p + (h)
  • (s/ŝ/sh) + k/q + (h//x/)
  • s/ŝ + p/k//q//h//m/n
  • t + h//x/
  • ¢/ĉ/č/l + h

Possible syllable codas are:

  • h/x + p/t/k/q/l/ll/r + (t)
  • / + k/q + (t)
  • Consonant + t


Front Central Back
High i  /i/   u  /u/
Mid e  /e/   o  /o/
Low   a  /a/  
  • Each vowel can be short, e.g., a [a], or long, e.g., a• [aː].[2]


  1. ^ a b Chipaya at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo (2006). El Chipaya o Lengua de los Hombres del Agua. Lima: Fondo Editorial, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

External links[edit]