Culle language

Culli, Kulyi
Native toPeru
RegionLa Libertad, Cajamarca (Cajabamba), Ancash (Pallasca)
Extinctmid-20th century?
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Culli language.png

Culle, also spelled Culli, Cullí, or Kulyi, is a poorly attested extinct language of the Andean highlands of northern Peru. It is the original language of the highlands of La Libertad Region, the south of the Cajamarca Region (Cajabamba), and the north of the Ancash region (Pallasca and Bolognesi[1]). It is known through various word lists collected while the language was still spoken and through vocabulary loaned into the Spanish spoken in the region.[2]

Flores Reyna (1996) reports that Culli was spoken by at least one family in the town of Tauca, Pallasca Province, Ancash region, until the middle of the 20th century. While it appears that Culli has been displaced in its whole range by Spanish, the possibility of speakers remaining in some remote village cannot be ruled out altogether.[3]

Culli was the language spoken in the territory of at least three Pre-Inca cultures or dominions: The kingdom of Konchuko (Conchucos), in the north of the Ancash region; the kingdom of Wamachuko (Huamachuco), in the highlands of La Libertad region; and Culli was spoken at least in the southern part of the kingdom of Kuismanko (Cuismanco), in the south of the Cajamarca region.


Because it is poorly attested, it has not been possible to definitively classify Culle.

Jolkesky (2016) also notes that there are lexical similarities with Leco.[4]


What little is known of the Culle language consists mostly of vocabulary. A sample list of words is given by Loutkotka (1968); some of these are presented here:[5]

  • ahhi – woman
  • pič – bird
  • čallua – fish
  • ču – head
  • čukuáll – heart
  • mai – foot
  • koñ, goñ – water
  • kumú – drink
  • mú – fire
  • sú – sun
  • múñ – moon
  • urú – tree
  • usú – man

A more extensive word list from Loukotka (1949) is given below:[6]

  • (Sp.) = Spanish loanword (excluded)
Sources used by Loukotka (1949)
French gloss
English gloss
Kulli (Martínez Compañón) Kulli (Gonzales) comparisons
animal animal (Sp.)
arbre tree urú
boire drink kumú Kolan: kum
chandelle candle nina Kechua: nina
bois wood guro
bois à brûler firewood pišoče
chapeau hat muntua
chien dog korep
ciel sky (Sp.)
cœur heart čukuáll
corps body (Sp.)
cou neck uro
couverture blanket maiko
douleur pain pillač
eau water koñ goñ
étoiles stars čuip Sechura: chúpchúp
femme woman ahhi
feu fire
fille daughter ahhi ogóll (see femme)
fils son usu ogóll (see homme)
fleur flower čučú Hibito: chukchum
fleuve river uram
frère brother kimit
fruit fruit huakohu
gai happy kuhi
herbe grass paihak chimú: pey
homme man usú Katakao: aszat
lune moon múñ
main hand pui
manger eat miú
mangeur de pain bread eater huiku-vana
mer sea kida
mère mother mamá Kechua: mama
mort dead koní
ohé! hey! čo
oiseau bird pičuñ pičon Kechua: pisku
ondes waves kóñpulkasú see eau
os bone moskár
pain bread vana
père father kinú
pied foot mai
pleurer cry akasú Hibito: atzakem
pluie rain kau
poisson fish čallua Kechua: challua
poule chicken guallpe Kechua: atahuallpa
rameau branch urú sagars
régner reign kankiá
sandales sandals maivil see pied
sœur sister kañi
soleil sun
terre earth pús
tête head ču
tronc trunk mukh-kusgá
vent wind lluká
ventre belly odre
viande meat ayča


  1. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  2. ^ Adelaar, William F.H.; Pieter C. Muysken (2004). The Languages of the Andes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 401–405. ISBN 0-521-36275-X.
  3. ^ Adelaar, 1988
  4. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.
  5. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian Languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center. pp. 63–65.
  6. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír. 1949. Sur Quelques Langues Inconnues de l'Amerique du Sud. Lingua Posnaniensis I: 53-82.

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