Omagua language

Native toPerú; extinct in Brazil
Native speakers
10 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3omg

Omagua is a Tupí-Guarani language closely related to Cocama (Michael 2014), belonging to the Group III subgroup of the Tupí-Guaraní family, according to Rodrigues' classification of the family. Alternate names for Omagua include: Agua, Anapia, Ariana, Cambeba, Cambeeba, Cambela, Campeba, Canga-Peba, Compeva, Janbeba, Kambeba, Macanipa, Omagua-Yete, Pariana, Umaua, Yhuata.[4]

Historical and modern distribution

When Europeans first arrived in the western Amazon Basin in significant number in the late 17th and early 18th century, Omagua was spoken by approximately 100,000 individuals in two major areas: along the Amazon River proper, between the mouths of the Napo River and Jutaí River, and in the vicinity of the Aguarico River, a tributary of the upper Napo River. At this time, then, Omagua speakers lived in regions corresponding to modern eastern Peruvian Amazonia, western Brazilian Amazonia, and eastern Ecuadoran Amazonia.

These Omagua populations were decimated by disease, Portuguese slave raids, and conflicts with Spanish colonial authorities during the early 18th century, leaving them drastically reduced. As of 2011, Omagua was spoken by "fewer than ten elderly individuals" in Peru,[5] and by a number of semi-speakers near the town of Tefé in Brazil, where the language is known as Cambeba (Grenand and Grenand 1997).

Genesis of Omagua

Comparative work by Cabral (1996) demonstrated that Omagua (and its sister language Cocama) exhibit significant grammatical restructuring effects due to intense language contact between a Tupí-Guaraní language and speakers of one or more non-Tupí-Guaraní languages. Rodrigues and Cabral (2003) further suggest that Cocama (and by extension, Omagua) could be considered the outcomes of rapid creolization. Cabral (1996) argued that this language contact transpired in the late 17th century in Jesuit mission settlements, while Michael (2014)[6] argues that the language contact situation responsible for the genesis of Omagua and Cocama transpired during the Pre-Columbian period.

See also


  1. ^ Omagua at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Cabral (2012) argues that Kokama/Omagua is a mixed language, and so not directly classifiable, though most of its basic vocabulary is Tupi–Guarani.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Omagua". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ "Omagua". World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  5. ^ "Omagua: Documentation and Sociohistorical Analysis". Research - Linguistics Department, UC Berkeley. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  6. ^ Michael, Lev . 2014. "On the Pre-Columbian Origin of Proto-Omagua-Kokama." Journal of Language Contact 7(2):309{344.


  • Cabral, Ana Suelly. 1995. Contact-induced language change in the Western Amazon: The non-genetic origin of the Kokama language. University of Pittsburgh, PhD dissertation.
  • Grenand, F. and P. Grenand. 1997. Thesaurus de la langue omawa (famille tupi-guarani, Brésil): Analyse comparée des données disponibles entre 1782 et 1990. Chantiers Amerindia. Paris: Centre d’Etudes des Langues Indigènes d’Amérique (CELIA); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
  • Michael, Lev. 2014. On the Pre-Columbian origin of Proto-Omagua-Kokama. Journal of Language Contact 7(2).
  • Rodrigues, Aryon and Ana Suelly Cabral. 2003. Evidências de criouslização abrupta en Kokáma? Papia 13: 180-186.

External links

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