Ocaina language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Native to Peru, Colombia
Native speakers
190 (1998–2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 oca
Glottolog ocai1244[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

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


Ocaina belongs to the Witotoan language family. It is its own group within the Huitoto-Ocaina sub-family.

Geographic distribution[edit]

Ocaina is spoken by 54 people in northeastern Peru and by 12 more in the Amazonas region of Colombia. Few children speak the language.[citation needed]


There are two dialects of Ocaina: Dukaiya and Ibo'tsa.



Ocaina consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar/
Velar Glottal
Nasal lenis m n ɲ
fortis ɲː
Plosive p b t r k ɡ ʔ
Affricate ts dz
Fricative ɸ β s ʃ ʒ x h


Ocaina vowel phonemes
  Front Central Back
High i, ĩ ɨ, ɨ̃
Low e a, ã o, õ


Syllables in Ocaina may be marked with one of two tones: high or low.


Syllables in Ocaina consist of a vowel; single consonants may appear on either side of the vowel: (C)V(C).

Writing System[edit]

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

Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA Latin IPA
a /a/ b /b/ c /k/ ch /tʃ/ ds /dz/ dy /dʲ/ e /e/ f /ɸ/ g /ɡ/ h /ʔ/ i /i/
j /h/ k /k/ ll /dʒ/ m /m/ /mː/ n /n/ /nː/ ñ /ɲ/ ñ̈ /ɲː/ o /o/ p /p/
q /k/ r /r/ s /s/ sh /ʃ/ t /t/ ts /ts/ ty /tʲ/ u /ɨ/ v /β/ x /x/ y /ʒ/
  • Because the Ocaina alphabet is based on Spanish, c is used to indicate /k/ before a, o, and u, qu is used before e and i, and k is used in loan words, such as kerosene kerosene.
  • Nasalization is indicated by inserting n after a vowel. Compare: tya tyója [tʲa tʲóha] hang it vs. tya tyonjan [tʲa tʲṍhã] clean it.
  • High tone is indicated with the acute accent: á, é, í, ó, ú.


  1. ^ Ocaina at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ocaina". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  • Agnew, Arlene; Evelyn G. Pike (January 1957). "Phonemes of Ocaina (Huitoto)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 23 (1): 24–27. doi:10.1086/464385. 
  • Leach, Ilo M. (2008). Mary Ruth Wise, ed. Vocabulario Ocaina (PDF). Serie Lingüística Peruana (in Spanish). 4 (2nd ed.). Yarinacocha, Peru: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.