Muinane language

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Native to Colombia
Ethnicity 550 Witoto people (2007)[1]
Native speakers
150 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bmr
Glottolog muin1242[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Muinane is an indigenous American language spoken in western South America.


Muinane belongs to the Witotoan language family. Along with Bora, it comprises the Boran sub-grouping.

Geographic distribution[edit]

Muinane is spoken by 150 people in Colombia along the Upper Cahuinarí river in the Department of Amazonas. There may be some speakers in Peru.



Muinane consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar/
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Fricative ɸ β s ʃ j x
Trill r
  • Voiceless stops and affricates contrast with their geminate counterparts: tʃː tʲː .


Muinane vowel phonemes
  Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Low e a o


There are two tones in Muinane: high and low.


Word order in Muinane is generally SOV. Case marking is nominative–accusative.

Writing System[edit]

Muinane is written using a Latin alphabet. A chart of symbols with the sounds they represent as is follows:

Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA
a /a/ b /b/ c /k/ ch /tʃ/ d /d/ e /e/
f /ɸ/ g /ɡ/ h /ʔ/ i /i/ ɨ /ɨ/ j /x/
ll /dʒ/ m /m/ n /n/ ñ /ɲ/ o /o/ p /p/
q /k/ r /r/ s /s/ sh /ʃ/ t /t/ u /u/
v /β/ y /j/
  • Palatalized consonants are written using the unpalatalized forms plus y: ty /tʲ/, dy /dʲ/, ry /rʲ/. For the purposes of alphabetization, these are considered sequences of letters.
  • Tone is not generally indicated in writing. When it is shown, it is indicated by an acute accent over the vowel: á, é, í, ɨ́, ó, ú.
  • The Muinane writing system is based on Spanish orthography. For that reason, the sound /k/ is written as c before a, ɨ, o, and u and as qu before e and i. Likewise, the sound /ɡ/ is written as gu before e and i, and g elsewhere.


  1. ^ a b Muinane at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Muinane". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.