Coconucan language

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Native toColombia
RegionCauca Department
EthnicityGuambiano (Misak)
Native speakers
21,000 (2008)[1]
  • Coconuco
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
gum – Guambiano
ttk – Totoró

Coconuco, also known as Guambiano and Misak, is a dialect cluster of Colombia spoken by the Guambiano indigenous people. Though the three varieties, Guambiano, moribund Totoró, and the extinct Coconuco are traditionally called languages, Adelaar & Muysken (2004) believe that they are best treated as a single language.

Totoró may be extinct; it had 4 speakers in 1998 out of an ethnic population of 4,000. Guambiano, on the other hand, is vibrant and growing.

Coconucan was for a time mistakenly included in a spurious Paezan language family, due to a purported "Moguex" (Guambiano) vocabulary that turned out to be a mix of Páez and Guambiano (Curnow 1998).


The Guambiano inventory is as follows (Curnow & Liddicoat 1998:386).

front central back
close i u
mid e ə
back a
  Bilabial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ  
Occlusive p t k
Fricative s ʂ ʃ
Liquid r l ʎ
Semi-vowel w j


  1. ^ Guambiano at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Totoró at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Coconucan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Further reading[edit]

  • Adelaar, Willem F. H.; & Muysken, Pieter C. 2004. The languages of the Andes. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press.
  • Branks, Judith; Sánchez, Juan Bautista. 1978. The drama of life: A study of life cycle customs among the Guambiano, Colombia, South America (pp xii, 107). Summer Institute of Linguistics Museum of Anthropology Publication (No. 4). Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics Museum of Anthropology.
  • Curnow, Timothy Jowan, & Liddicoat, Anthony J. 1998. The Barbacoan Languages of Colombia and Ecuador, Anthropological Linguistics, 40:3:384–408.
  • Fabre, Alain. 2005. Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos: Guambiano[1]