Yaruro language

EthnicityYaruro people
Native speakers
7,900 (2001 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3yae

The Yaruro language (also spelled Llaruro or Yaruru; also called Yuapín or Pumé) is an indigenous language spoken by Yaruro people, along the Orinoco, Cinaruco, Meta, and Apure rivers of Venezuela. It is not well classified; it may be an isolate, or distantly related to the extinct Esmeralda language.

Genetic relations

Pache (2016) considers Yaruro to be related to the Chocoan languages, citing evidence from lexical and sound correspondences. Some shared lexical items between Yaruro and Chocoan (Pache (2016) cites Yaruro and Epena forms from the Intercontinental Dictionary Series):[3]

Yaruro Chocoan
dac͡ço ‘eye, face,’ c͡ço ‘seed, fruit, nut’ Epena tautʰu ‘forehead’
da ‘eye’ (used in complex forms) Proto-Chocoan **da ‘eye region,’ **da-ˈbu ‘eye,’ Epena ˈtau ‘eye’
duɾi ‘after’ Proto-Chocoan **duˈɾi ‘tail’
ɡõã ‘meat, flesh,’ goe ‘blood’ Proto-Emberá *uˈa ‘blood’
hu ‘bone,’ hu c͡çia ‘strong’ Proto-Chocoan **huˈa ‘arm, hand,’ Epena huaˈtau ‘strong’
i ‘skin’ Proto-Emberá *ˈe ‘skin’
ĩbu ‘nose’ Proto-Chocoan **kẽˈbu ‘nose’
ic͡çi ‘hand’ Epena iˈsia ‘wing’

Language contact

Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Saliba-Hodi, Arawak, Bora-Muinane, Choko, Witoto-Okaina, and Waorani language families due to contact.[4]



Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Affricate voiceless ts
voiced dz
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v ð ʒ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Rhotic ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid e ə o
æ ɔ
Low a ɑ



Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items.[6]

gloss Yaruro
hand ichi
foot taho
water ui
star boé
earth dabú
dog arerí
jaguar panaumé
snake póʔo
house xoʔo
boat dzyará

Further reading

  • Obregón Muñoz, H. (1981). Léxico yaruro-español, español-yaruro. Caracas: Ministerio de Educación.


  1. ^ Yaruro at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pumé". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Pache, Matthias J. 2016. Pumé (Yaruro) and Chocoan: Evidence for a New Genealogical Link in Northern South America. Language Dynamics and Change 6 (2016) 99–155. doi:10.1163/22105832-00601001
  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. ^ Alexandra Y. Aikhenvlad & R. M. Dixon (1999). p. 378.
  6. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.

External links

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