Ethnologue: Areas: Americas

Bolivia

Republic of Bolivia, República de Bolivia. 8,421,000 (1995). Literacy rate 63% to 81%. Information mainly from SIL 1956-1995. Christian, Baha'i, traditional religion, secular. Blind population 1,070. Deaf institutions: 9 or more. Data accuracy estimate: A2. The number of languages listed for Bolivia is 45. Of those, 39 are living languages, 1 is a second language without mother tongue speakers, and 5 are extinct.

ARAONA (CAVINA) [ARO] 87 (1994 H. Petersen NTM). Northwest, headwaters of Manupari River. Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Araona. Araona and Cavina are names of two moieties of the group. Vigorous language use by all ages. Knowledge of Spanish is increasing. Dictionary. Typology: SOV. Bible portions 1974-1981. Work in progress.

AYMARA, CENTRAL [AYM] 1,785,000 in Bolivia (1987), 23.7% of the population; 350,320 in Peru (1987 Cerrón-Palomino); 899 in Chile (1994 Hans Gundermann K.); 2,200,000 in all countries. Whole Altiplano west of eastern Andes. Also a few in Argentina. Aymaran. Churches are active in literacy. Openings in government schools for the use of Aymara literature. Dictionary. Grammar. Traditional religion, Christian. Bible 1987-1993. NT 1954-1977. Bible portions 1829-1966.

AYOREO (AYORÉ, MOROTOCO, MORO, PYETA YOVAI) [AYO] 1,000 to 1,500 in Bolivia; 3,000 in Paraguay (1991); 4,000 to 4,500 total. Southeastern region. Zamucoan. Dialect: TSIRICUA. Called 'Morotoco' in Paraguay and Ayoreo in Bolivia. NT 1982. Bible portions 1957-1985.

BAURE [BRG] Few speakers; more than 300 in ethnic group. Beni Department, northwest of Magdalena. Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana. Children and most adults were not using Baure 20 years ago. Bilingual in Spanish. Bible portions 1960-1966. Nearly extinct.

BOLIVIAN SIGN LANGUAGE [BVL] 350 to 400 users (1988 E. Powlison). Cochabamba, La Paz, Riberalta, Santa Cruz. Deaf sign language. Originated by missionaries. Based on American Sign Language with necessary changes for Spanish spelling. Some groups in La Paz and Santa Cruz use the same signs with some dialect signs from their own areas. Other deaf schools use only the oralist approach. Survey needed.

CALLAWALLA (CALLAHUAYA) [CAW] 10 or 20 (1995 estimate SIL). Highlands and high valleys, eastern Andes north of La Paz, Charazani area north of Lake Titicaca. Unclassified. A special language used by the herb doctors of the Inca emperors; they continue as herb doctors. Their language seems to have Quechua affixes and syntactic patterns, but distinctive roots from a dialect of the extinct Puquina language (Girault 1990). Women and children do not speak Callawalla, but speak Spanish, North Bolivia Quechua, or Aymara. Spoken only by the men. Second language only. No mother tongue speakers.

CANICHANA (KANICHANA) [CAZ] 25 (1958). There may be 500 in the ethnic group (1991 Adelaar). Lowlands. Unclassified. Said to be of the Tucanoan family. Nearly extinct.

CAVINEÑA [CAV] 2,000 (1995 MES). Northern Bolivia, southeast of Riberalta, along the Beni River, east of the Beni, and 500 on the Pando on the west side of the Beni. Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Cavinena. Becoming increasingly bilingual in Spanish. 500 children in school (1995). High school in Galilea has 135 students and 15 teachers. Dictionary. Typology: SOV. Levels of bilingualism in Spanish are 0:40%, 1:25%, 2:15%, 3:10%, 4:5%, 5:5%. Rubber and castaña nut gatherers, agriculturalists. NT 1985. Bible portions 1979.

CAYUBABA (CAYUWABA, CAYUVAVA) [CAT] 25 (1959 SIL). There may be 900 in the ethnic group (1991 W. H. Adelaar). Beni Department, west of Mamore River, north of Santa Ana. Language Isolate. Rapidly assimilating to Spanish. May be extinct. Ruhlen and others classify it as Equatorial. Nearly extinct.

CHÁCOBO [CAO] 520 (1994 MES). Northwest Beni, south of Riberalta. Panoan, Southern. Bilingual schools have about 180 students, 4 teachers, 5 grades. 3 of the teachers are Chácobo. NT 1979. Bible portions 1965.

CHIPAYA [CAP] 2,000 (1995 R. Olson SIL). Department of Oruro, Province of Atahuallpa. Uru-Chipaya. May be Arawakan or distantly related to Mayan. Previously bilingualism was mainly in Aymara, now in Spanish. 400 children in school. Now have a complete high school. Typology: SOV. Plains. Agriculturalists: grain; animal husbandry: sheep, llamas. Altitude: 12,000 feet. Christian, traditional religion (8 to 10 families). NT 1978. Bible portions 1967.

CHIQUITANO (CHIQUITO, TARAPECOSI) [CAX] 20,000 (1981 SIL) to 42,000 (1991 Adelaar). Eastern region east of Santa Cruz. Macro-Ge, Chiquito. Dialects: CONCEPCIÓN, SAN IGNACIO DE VELAZCO, SAN JAVIER (JAVIERANO, XAVIERANO), SANTIAGO, SAN MIGUEL. Typology: VO. Sedentary agriculturalists. Traditional religion, Christian. NT 1980. Bible portions 1974.

CHIRIGUANO (EASTERN BOLIVIAN GUARANÍ) [GUI] 15,000 in Bolivia; 15,000 in Argentina; 2,000 in Paraguay (1991); 32,000 in all countries. South central Parapeti River area, Tarija. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarani (I). Dialect: IZOCEÑO (IZOCENIO). Called 'Guarayo' in Paraguay and 'Guaraní Occidental', 'Chiriguano', or "Chawuncu" in Argentina. "Chawuncu" is a derogatory name. Grammar. Traditional religion, Christin. NT 1974. Bible portions 1931-1994.

CHOROTE, IYO'WUJWA (CHOROTI, MANJUY, MANJUI) [CRQ] No more than a couple of families in Bolivia; 1,500 in Argentina; 500 in Paraguay (1991 SIL); 2,000 total. Southeast, Tarija Department. Mataco-Guaicuru, Mataco. Estimated 80% monolingual. Bible portions 1992. Work in progress.

ESE EJJA (ESE EJA, ESE EXA, TIATINAGUA, "CHAMA", HUARAYO) [ESE] 600 to 650 in Bolivia (1976 SIL), 250 to 400 in Peru (1977 Catholic University, Lima). Northwestern region, and into the foothills on the Beni and Madre de Dios rivers in Bolivia, Tambopata and Heath rivers around Puerto Maldonado in Peru. Tacanan, Tiatinagua. Each clan has slight dialect differences; all seem inherently intelligible. Appears the most distinct from other Tacanan languages. The name "Chama" is objectionable. Dictionary. Typology: SOV. Levels of bilingualism in Spanish are 0:40%, 1:20%, 2:30%, 3:10%, 4:0%, 5:0%. NT 1984. Bible portions 1967-1981.

GERMAN, STANDARD [GER] 160,000 in Bolivia; 98,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High. Bible 1466-1982. NT 1522-1983. Bible portions 1522-1987.

GUARANÍ, BOLIVIAN, WESTERN (SIMBA, SIMBA GUARANÍ) [GNW] 5,000 or more (1995 R. Olson SIL). Chuquisaca Department, south to Pilcomayo River, east to Cuevo, north to Monte Agudo. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarani (I). Traditional religion, Christian. NT 1984.

GUARAYU ("GUARAYO") [GYR] 7,000 to 8,000 (1995 R. Olson SIL). Northeastern Guarayos River area. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarayu-Siriono-Jora (II). Different from Guarayo of Paraguay (which is the same as Chiriguano) or Huarayo (Ese Ejja) of Peru and Bolivia. The name "Guarayo", used for several groups, means 'savage'. 950 children in school in Urubicha. 31 of 34 teachers are Guarayu (1995). Typology: SOV. Tropical forest. Traditional religion, Christian. NT 1985. Bible portions 1964.

IGNACIANO (MOXO, MOXOS, MOJOS) [IGN] 4,000 (1982 SIL). South central Beni. Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana. Dictionary. Levels of bilingualism in Spanish are 0:25%, 1:20%, 2:44%, 3:19%, 4:2%, 5:0%. NT 1980. Bible portions 1967.

ITENE (ITENEO, ITENEZ, MORE) [ITE] (100 in ethnic group in 1959). North central Beni Department at junction of Mamoré and Itenez Rivers. Chapacura-Wanham, Guapore. Dialect: ITOREAUHIP. Children were not speaking Itene and only some of the older people were actively using it 30 years ago. They speak Spanish. Related languages: Chapacura, Quitemoca, Cujuna, Cumana, Mataua, Uanham, Urunumacan; probably all extinct. Nearly extinct.

ITONAMA (MACHOTO, SARAMO) [ITO] (110 in ethnic group in 1969). Beni Department and Itonamas River. Language Isolate. Only a few speakers 25 years ago. Bilingual in Spanish. Ruhlen classifies it as Paezan. Dictionary. Bible portions 1967. Nearly extinct.

JORÁ (HORA) [JOR] Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarayu-Siriono-Jora (II). Has become extinct since 1963. Adelaar reports 5 to 10 speakers (1991).

LECO [LEC] (200 possibly, in the ethnic group; 1991). East of Lake Titicaca, some in Apolo area, scattered families. Unclassified. Reported to be Quechuan. Preserve some folklore, dances, and music. Recently extinct linguistically.

MOVIMA [MZP] Few speakers, probably 1,000 in ethnic group (1976 SIL). Central Beni Department, in and around Santa Ana on the Yacuma River. Unclassified. A few older people along the rivers may speak Movima. Reported to be Tucanoan. Dictionary. Bible portions 1967. Nearly extinct.

PACAHUARA (PACAWARA) [PCP] Individuals in one family (1986 SIL). Northwest Beni. Panoan, Southern. All are integrated into the Chácobo. Tropical forest. Rubber gatherers. Nearly extinct.

PAUSERNA (PAU CERNE, GUARAYU-TA, PAUSERNA-GUARASUGWÉ) [PSM] 25 to 30 (1991 Adelaar). Southeast Beni on Guapore River. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Pauserna. Elderly speakers. Nearly extinct.

PLAUTDIETSCH (LOW GERMAN, MENNONITE GERMAN) [GRN] 18,000 in Bolivia (1985); 306,000 in all countries of whom 150,000 use it habitually (1983); 110,735 or more in Latin America are fairly monolingual. Primarily in Canada. Also in USA, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, Belize, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low. 6% can speak Standard German and 6% can speak Spanish as second language. Christian. NT 1987. Bible portions 1984-1986.

QUECHUA, NORTH BOLIVIAN (NORTH LA PAZ QUECHUA) [QUL] 116,483 in Bolivia, including 18,452 monolinguals; 65,649 bilinguals in Spanish; 32,382 trilinguals in Aymara and Spanish (1978 census). Apolo region, La Paz Department. Also in Peru as far as Sandia. Quechuan, Quechua II, C. Dialects: APOLO, CHARAZANI, CHUMA. Radio programs. Puka Ch'umpi people in the mountains beyond Potosí are reported to be isolated and traditional. Typology: SOV. NT 1985.

QUECHUA, SOUTH BOLIVIAN (CENTRAL BOLIVIAN QUECHUA, QUECHUA BOLIVIANO) [QUH] 2,782,500 in Bolivia, 37.1% of the population (1987); 850,000 in Argentina; 3,632,500 total. Highland regions and lowland except around Apolo. Quechuan, Quechua II, C. Dialects: SUCRE, COCHABAMBA, ORURO, POTOSÍ, CHUQUISACA. May be intelligible with Chilean Quechua, and Northwest Jujuy Quechua in Argentina. Dictionary. Typology: SOV. Traditional religion, Christian. Bible 1986-1993. NT 1922-1977. Bible portions 1907-1949.

REYESANO (SAN BORJANO) [REY] There are perhaps 1,000 members of the ethnic group. Beni Department, west central around San Borja. Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper. There may still be some elderly speakers (1982). Extinct.

SARAVECA [SAR] Eastern jungle. Arawakan, Maipuran, Central Maipuran. Extinct.

SHINABO [SHN] Panoan, Southern. Existence improbable; contact has been attempted several times. Thought to have possibly been a Chácobo group. Extinct.

SIRIONÓ [SRQ] 500. Eastern Beni and northwestern Santa Cruz Departments. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarayu-Siriono-Jora (II). Dictionary. NT 1977. Bible portions 1964.

SPANISH [SPN] 3,483,700 in Bolivia (1995 estimate); 266,000,000 in all countries (1987 Time). Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Ibero-Romance, North, Central. National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1553-1979. NT 1543-1986. Bible portions 1514-1985.

TACANA [TNA] 3,500. Beni and Madre de Dios Rivers, jungle, some in foothills. Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper. Dictionary. NT 1981. Bible portions 1969-1973.

TAPIETÉ (GUASURANGO, TIRUMBAE, YANAIGUA, ÑANAGUA) [TAI] 40 in Bolivia (1981 J. Alvarsson SFM); 1,800 in Paraguay (1991 SIL); 100 in Argentina; 2,000 total. Southeast, towns of Samayhuate and Cutaiqui. Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarani (I). Same as Guasurango in Paraguay. Survey needed.

TOBA (QOM) [TOB] 100 possibly in Bolivia; 15,000 to 20,000 in Argentina; 700 in Paraguay (1991 SIL); 15,800 to 20,800 total. Mataco-Guaicuru, Guaicuruan. Different from Toba-Pilagá of Argentina or Toba of Paraguay (Toba-Maskoy). NT 1980. Bible portions 1964-1967.

TOROMONO (TOROMONA) [TNO] Northwest, close to the Araona. Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper. They have not been located. May not still exist. Survey needed.

TRINITARIO (MOXOS, MOJOS) [TRN] 5,000. South central Beni. Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana. Dialects: LORETO (LORETANO), JAVIERANO. NT 1979. Bible portions 1962.

TSIMANÉ (CHIMANÉ, MOSETÉN) [CAS] 5,500 including 500 speakers of Moseten. Southwestern Beni Department and along Maniqui River, and towns of San Miguel de Huachi and Santa Ana de Alto Beni. Mosetenan. Adelaar (1991) considers Mosetén and Tsimane to be 2 separate languages. Fishermen; swidden agriculturalists: bananas, manioc; hunters. Bible portions 1963-1986. Work in progress.

URU [URE] Department of Oruro, Province of Atahuallpa. Uru-Chipaya. Assimilated to Spanish or Aymara except for a few older people 20 years ago. Those at the south end of Lake Poopo spoke only Aymara and Spanish 15 years ago. May be extinct. Nearly extinct.

WICHÍ LHAMTÉS NOCTEN ("MATACO" NOCTEN, OKTENAI, NOCTEN, NOCTENES, BOLIVIAN "MATACO") [MTP] 1,427 in Bolivia (1978 SFM); 100 in Argentina; 1,530 total or more. North central Tarija Department, southwest of Pilcomayo River, Cordillera de Pirapo. Mataco-Guaicuru, Mataco. Selections 1980. Work in progress.

YAMINAHUA (YAMINAWA, JAMINAWA, YAMANAWA) [YAA] 150 in Bolivia (1976 SIL); 357 in Brazil (1986 SIL); 700 to 1,100 in Peru (1981 SIL); 1,200 to 1,600 in all countries. Northwest corner Pando Department. Panoan, South-Central, Yaminahua-Sharanahua. Same dialect or close to that of Peru and Brazil. They came from Brazil. Bible portions 1987. Work in progress.

YUQUI [YUQ] 150 or fewer. Foothills north of Cochabamba, Chimoré. Tupi, Unclassified. Nomadic. Bible portions. Work in progress.

YURACARE (YURA) [YUE] 500 to 2,500 (1991 Adelaar). Beni and Cochabamba Departments. Language Isolate. Dialects: MANSINYO, SOLOTO. Bible portions 1956-1965. Work in progress.


External Links*


Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or updates on the Ethnologue, go to the Feedback page.

[Americas | Areas | Ethnologue Home | SIL Home]