Yuracaré language

Native toBolivia
RegionCochabamba Department
Ethnicity3,300 Yuracaré people (2004)[1] 3,394 Yuracaré people (2012) (INE Census)
Native speakers
2,700 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3yuz

Yuracaré (also Yurakaré, Yurakar, Yuracare, Yurucare, Yuracar, Yurakare, Yurujuré, Yurujare) is an endangered language isolate of central Bolivia in Cochabamba and Beni departments spoken by the Yuracaré people.

Loukotka (1968) reports that Yuracaré is spoken at the sources of the Sécure River, and on the Chapare River and Chimoré River.[2]


Two dialects, now extinct:[2]

  • Western - Mansiño, Oromo
  • Eastern - Mage, Soloto

Coni, Cuchi, and Enete are possible dialects (Brinton 1891).[3]


There are approximately 2,500 speakers. These numbers are in decline as the youngest generation no longer learns the language.[4] (See Language death.)


Yuracaré is documented with a grammar based on an old missionary manuscript by de la Cueva (Adam 1893). The language is currently being studied by Rik van Gijn. A Foundation for Endangered Languages grant was awarded for a Yuracaré–Spanish / Spanish–Yuracaré dictionary project in 2005.

Genealogical relations

Suárez (1977) suggests a relationship between Yuracaré and the Mosetenan, Pano–Tacanan, Arawakan, and Chon families. His earlier Macro-Panoan proposal is the same minus Arawakan (Suárez 1969).

Jolkesky (2016) also notes that there are lexical similarities with the Moseten-Tsimane languages.[5]



Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items.[2]

gloss Yuracare
one letha
two läshie
three lívui
tooth sansa
tongue erume
hand té-banau
woman señe
water záma
fire áima
moon shúhui
maize sil
jaguar samo
house siba

See also


  1. ^ a b Yuracaré at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  3. ^ Brinton, Daniel G. 1891. The American race. New York: D. C. Hodges.
  4. ^ Documentation of Endangered Languages.
  5. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.


  • Adam, Lucien. (1893). Principes et dictionnaire de la langue Yuracaré ou Yurujuré composés par le R. P. de la Cueva et publiés conformément au manuscrit de A. d’Orbigny. Bibliothèque linguistique américaine (No. 16). Paris: Maisonneuve.
  • Adelaar, Willem F. H.; & Muysken, Pieter C. (2004). The Languages of the Andes. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge University Press.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1990). Language History in South America: What We Know and How To Know More. In D. L. Payne (Ed.), Amazonian Linguistics: Studies in Lowland South American languages (pp. 13–67). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70414-3.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The Native Languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the World's Languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.
  • Ribera, J.; Rivero, W.; Rocha, A. (1991). Vocabulario yuracaré-castellano, castellano-yuracaré. Trinidad: MISEREOR.
  • Suárez, Jorge. (1969). Moseten and Pano–Tacanan. Anthropological Linguistics, 11 (9), 255-266.
  • Suárez, Jorge. (1977). La posición lingüística del pano-tacana y del arahuaco. Anales de Antropología, 14, 243-255.
  • van Gijn, Rik. (2004). Number in the Yurakaré Noun Phrase. In L. Cornips & J. Doetjes (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2004 (pp. 69–79). Linguistics in the Netherlands (No. 21). John Benjamins.
  • van Gijn, Rik (2005). Head Marking and Dependent Marking of Grammatical Relations in Yurakaré. In M. Amberber & H. de Hoop (eds.) Competition and Variation in Natural Languages: The Case for Case. (pp. 41–72) Elsevier.
  • van Gijn, Rik (2006) A Grammar of Yurakaré. Ph.D. dissertation Radboud University Nijmegen. hdl:2066/27381

External links

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