Uru language

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Iru Itu
Native to Bolivia
Region Lake Titicaca, near the Desaguadero River
Ethnicity 590 Uru people (2007)[1]
Native speakers
2 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ure
Glottolog uruu1244[2]

The Uru language, more specifically known as Iru-Itu, and Uchumataqu, is the sole surviving language of the Uru people, an indigenous people. In 2004, it had 2 remaining native speakers out of an ethnic group of 140 people in the La Paz Department, Bolivia near Lake Titicaca, the rest having shifted to Aymara and Spanish. The language is close enough to the Chipaya language to sometimes be considered a dialect of that language.[citation needed]

Olson (1964) mentions a variety of Uru, Uru of Ch'imu, spoken on the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca. It is not clear if this was a dialect of Iru Itu or a separate Uru language.

Identifying Uchumataqu[edit]

Due to one of the Uru's name for their language, "Pukina", some linguists have grouped Uru with the Arawaken languages or have accidentally mistaken Uchumataqu with Puquina.[3] While the Personal and Possessive pronouns of the older, unrelated Puquina are similar to those of Arawaken Languages,[4] Uru differs drastically from Arawaken languages in the person marking system and in language morphology.[3] Uchumataqu is known for being related to Ayamara and other Andean Languages, with borrowed grammatical and lexical morphemes due to prolonged exposure to Ayamara,[3] and with having a very similar pronoun system as Chipaya.[5] However, Uru has many differentiating features including not being polysynthetic and having a five-vowel system (a e i o u), unlike Ayamara which is polysynthetic and has a three-vowel system (a i u),[3] and by not identifying gender morphologically, as Chipaya does.[5]


  1. ^ a b Uru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Uru". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c d Danielsen, Swintha (2010). "Review of "Uchumataqu: The Lost Language of the Urus of Bolivia. A Description of the Language as Documented between 1894 and 1952. Indigenous Languages of Latin America"" (PDF). Anthropological Linguistics. 52: 107–111 – via JSTOR. 
  4. ^ Adelaar, Willem F. H. (2004). The Language of the Andes. Cambridge, GB: Cambridge Language Surveys. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-511-21050-1 – via Ebrary. 
  5. ^ a b Pena, Jaime (2009). "Uchumataqu: The Lost Language of the Urus of Bolivia. A Grammatical Description of the Language as Documented between 1894 and 1952.". Studies in Language. 33: 1012–1018 – via EBSCO.