Kakwa language

Kakua, Kakwa
Native toColombia (Vaupés), Brazil (Amazonas)
Native speakers
400 (2010)[1]
Nadahup ?
Language codes
ISO 639-3cbv Cacua [2]

The Cacua[1][2][4] language, also known as Kakua[3] or Kakwa, is an indigenous language spoken by a few hundred people in Colombia and Brazil. There are many monolinguals, especially children.[1] Apart from being close to or a dialect of Nukak, its classification is uncertain.


The language is spoken by indigenous American Cacua people that live in Colombian and Brazilian[4] interfluvial tropical forests higher than 200 metres (660 ft) in elevation. The people have traditional livelihoods such as nomadic hunting-gathering and swidden agriculture.[1] There are some non-native speakers of Cacua that are predominantly missionary workers. Their presence has resulted in the translation of religious Christian texts, notably the Christian Bible.[5]

Bilingualism and literacy

Reports gathered by SIL in 1982 stated that many speakers are monolingual, particularly children.[1] Another promising aspect is that even though literacy is low by international standards, it is higher in the aboriginal language, at around 10%, compared to 5% in Spanish, the opposite situation of most indigenous languages of the Americas.[1] Cacua uses a Latin alphabet.[1]


The speakers are located in Wacara (In Cacua: Wacará) which is 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Mitu (In Cacua and Spanish: Mitú) in the lower Vaupes Region.[1] (In Spanish: Departamento del Vaupés).


The language uses both subject-object-verb and object-verb-subject word order.[1]

Sample text in Cacua

Ded pah jwiít jwĩ jwíih cãac cha pahatji naáwát[6]


There are two dialects: Vaupés Cacua and Macú-Paraná Cacua. Cacua is mutually intelligible with Nukak,[1] and is considered a dialect of the latter by Martins (1999). See that article for further classification.

Other names for this language include: Báda, Cakua, Kákwa, Macu de Cubeo, Macu de Desano, Macu de Guanano, Macú-Paraná, Wacara.[1]


Kakwa has 6 vowels: /a, e, i, ɨ, o, u/.[7]

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain creaky-voice plain creaky-voice plain creaky-voice plain creaky-voice
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g ɡ̰
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative f h
Nasal m n ɲ
Approximant j w


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cacua at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: cbv". ISO 639-3 Registration Authority - SIL International. Retrieved 2017-07-03. Name: Cacua
  3. ^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kakua". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b "Cacua entry". Global Recordings.
  5. ^ "Bogota Explosion!". Kids Ministry International. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Cacua language
  6. ^ Ded pah jwiít jwĩ jw... 1997 (in Cacua), Ethnologue
  7. ^ "SAPhon – South American Phonological Inventories". linguistics.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-09.

External links

This page was last updated at 2019-11-14 15:33, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari