Ocaina language

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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.

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 as is 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; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Ocaina". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: 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.