Munichi language

Native toPeru
Extinctlate 1990s, with the death of Victoria Huancho Icahuate
Macro-Arawakan ?
Language codes
ISO 639-3myr
Muniche language.png
Location of Munichi

Munichi is a recently extinct language which was spoken in the village of Munichis, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Yurimaguas, Loreto Region, Peru. In 1988, there were two mother-tongue speakers, but they had not met since the 1970s. The last known fluent speaker, Victoria Huancho Icahuate, died in the late 1990s. As of 2009 there were several semi-speakers who retained significant lexical, and partial grammatical, knowledge of the language (Michael et al. 2013).


The language is considered an isolate (Michael et al. 2013), but the pronominal suffixes bear a close resemblance to those reconstructed for proto-Arawakan (Gibson 1996:18-19), and some lexical items are similar to ones in Arawakan languages (Jolkesky 2016:310-317). Although Jolkesky (id.) argues that the language belongs to a putative Macro-Arawakan stock, evidence has yet to be provided for placing it either in a sister branch to the Arawakan language family or in a branch within this language family. There is substantial borrowing from the local variety of Quechua, and to a lesser extent from Spanish and Cahuapanan languages (Michael et al. 2013).


Munichi has six vowels: /a, e, i, ɨ, o, u/.[2]

Bilabial Alveolar Palato-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced d g
Affricate t͡s t͡ʃ ʈʂ
Fricative s ʃ ʂ ç h
Nasal m n ɲ
Approximant l j w
Flap ɾ


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Muniche". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ "SAPhon – South American Phonological Inventories". linguistics.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-12.


  • Gibson, Michael L. 1996. El Munichi: Un idioma que se extingue. Serie Lingüística Peruana, 42. Pucallpa: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano. Available here.
  • Jolkesky, M. 2016. Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas. Brasilia: UnB. PhD Dissertation. Available here.
  • Michael, Lev, Stephanie Farmer, Greg Finley, Christine Beier, and Karina Sullón Acosta. 2013. A sketch of Muniche segmental and prosodic phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics 79(3):307-347.

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