Wiwa language

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Native toColombia
RegionSierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Native speakers
1,850 (2007)[1]
  • Arwako–Chimila
    • Arwako
      • Damana
Language codes
ISO 639-3mbp

Damana (also known as Malayo, Wiwa, Arosario, Arsario, Guamaca, Guamaka, Maracasero, Marocasero, Sancá, Sanja, Sanka, Wamaka)[3] is a Chibchan language spoken by the indigenous Wiwa people on the southern and eastern slopes of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. According to Ethnologue, it was spoken by 1,850 people in 2007;[3] however, according to the Colombian Ministry of Culture, there were 13,627 Wiwa people in 2010, of whom some 60% speak Damana well.[4]



There are seven phonemic vowels in Damana:

Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i ʉ u
Mid ə o
Open a


Damana has 19 phonemic consonants:

Consonant phonemes
Labial Dental/Alveolar Palatal/Palatalized Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Stop p t d c ɟ k g
Fricative s z ɕ ʑ h
Flap ɾ
Trill r
Continuant w


  1. ^ Damana at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Malayo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b "Malayo". Ethnologue. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Un poco más de la mitad de la población wiwa habla bien la lengua damana" [A little more than half of the Wiwa population speak Damana well]. Ministerio de Cultura, Colombia (in Spanish). 24 February 2010. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2018.