Moxo languages

Native toBolivia
RegionBeni Department
Ethnicity21,000 Moxo people (2004)[1]
Native speakers
10,000 (2000–2004)[1]
  • Southern
    • Bolivia–Parana
      • Moxos languages
        • Moxo
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
ign – Ignaciano Moxos
trn – Trinitario Moxos
Glottologmoxo1234  Mojeno
magi1242  Magiana

Moxo (also known as Mojo, pronounced 'Moho') is any of the Arawakan languages spoken by the Moxo people of Northeastern Bolivia. The two extant languages of the Moxo people, Trinitario and Ignaciano, are as distinct from one another as they are from neighboring Arawakan languages. The extinct Magiana was also distinct.

Moxo languages have an active–stative syntax.[2]

Mojeño machetero dancer at festival in Bolivia.

Sociolinguistic background

The languages belong to a group of tribes that originally ranged through the upper Mamoré, extending east and west from the Guapure (Itenes) to the Beni, and are now centered in the Province of Moxos, Department of Beni, Bolivia.[3]

Ignaciano is used in town meetings unless outsiders are present, and it is a required subject in the lower school grades, one session per week. Perhaps half of the children learn Ignaciano. By the 1980s there were fewer than 100 monolinguals, all older than 30.


The Moxo languages are most closely related to Bauré, Pauna, and Paikonéka. Together, they form the Mamoré-Guaporé languages (named after the Mamoré River and Guaporé River). Classification by Jolkesky (2016):[4]:8

  • Mamoré-Guaporé languages
    • Bauré
      • Bauré
      • Carmelito
      • Joaquiniano
      • Muxojeóne
    • Moxeno
      • Ignaciano
      • Trinitário
      • Loretano
      • Javierano
    • Paikonéka
      • Paikonéka
    • Paunáka
      • Paunáka

Classification by Danielsen (2011) and Danielsen & Terhart (2014: 226):[5][6]

  • Baure languages
    • Bauré
    • Carmelito
    • Joaquiniano
  • Pauna languages
    • Paunáka
    • Paikonéka
  • Mojo languages
    • Trinitário
    • Ignaciano
    • Loretano
    • Javierano
    • Muchojeone

Word lists

The following is a wordlist containing sample words from English to Moxos:

English Moxos
One Ikapia
Two Apisá
Three Impúse
Man Ehiro
Woman Eseno
Sun Sáche
Water Uni
Fire Yuku
Head Nuxuti
Hand Nubupe
Corn Suru

Magíana word list from the late 1700s published in Palau and Saiz (1989):[7]:170

Spanish gloss English gloss Magíana
bueno good shiomá
malo bad shiomallama
el padre father papá
la madre mother kay
el hermano brother nomasqui
uno one huestiche
dos two heravetá

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ a b Ignaciano Moxos at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Trinitario Moxos at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Aikhenvald, "Arawak", in Dixon & Aikhenvald, eds., The Amazonian Languages, 1999.
  3. ^ http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10606b.htm, New Advent, Moxos Indians, Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo. 2016. Uma reconstrução do proto-mamoré-guaporé (família arawák). LIAMES 16: 7-37.
  5. ^ Danielsen, Swintha (2011). The personal paradigms in Baure and other South Arawakan languages. In Antoine Guillaume; Françoise Rose (eds.). International Journal of American Linguistics 77(4): 495-520.
  6. ^ Danielsen, Swintha; Terhart, Lena (2014). Paunaka. In Mily Crevels; Pieter Muysken (eds.). Lenguas de Bolivia, vol. III: Oriente, pp. 221-258. La Paz: Plural Editores.
  7. ^ Palau, Mercedes and Blanca Saiz. 1989. Moxos: Descripciones exactas e historia fiel de los indios, animales y plantas de la provincia de Moxos en el virreinato del Perú por Lázaro de Ribera, 1786-1794. Madrid: El Viso.

External links

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