Tinigua language

Last updated
Native to Colombia
Region Meta Department, Colombia; Serranía de la Macarena, Colombia
Ethnicity1 [1]
Native speakers
1 (2013) [1]
  • Tinigua
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tit
Glottolog tini1245
ELP Tinigua

Tinigua (Tiniguas) is an endangered language isolate spoken in Colombia which used to form a small language family with the now extinct Pamigua language.


Final speakers

As of 2000, Tinigua had only two remaining speakers, Sixto Muñoz (Tinigua name: Sɨsɨthio ‘knife’) and his brother, Criterio. Criterio died some time around 2005, leaving behind Sixto as the last remaining speaker of Tinigua. [2] Formerly a resident of the Serranía de la Macarena in Meta Department, Sixto Muñoz currently resides in Jiw village of Barrancón, near the main town of Guaviare Department. [3] :1029 They lived in Meta Department, between the Upper Guayabero and Yari rivers. [4]

Muñoz also speaks Spanish and is thought to have been born somewhere from 1924-1929. He has five children, but he chose not to teach them Tinigua because they would not have any use for it. [5]

Below is a comparison of Tinigua forms elicited from Sixto Muñoz in 2019 compared with Tinigua and Pamigua words recorded in Castellví (1940). [6] [3]

English glossTinigua (Sixto Muñoz)Tinigua (Castellví)Pamigua (Castellví)
eyesıt̵́izőti, zɘ̀tisete, xete
womanɲísañíza, ñísänixtá
doghanóxamno, xámiuxannó
jaguarkʰíɲa ~ tʃíɲačíña, ǰíña, xiñaxiñaga
cornjóʔhát’óka, tiókaxukxá
let's gominahámanaxǎímenáxa
chili peppertsákhaţáxasaxa
goodhajohásiayuxáǐayoxagua (‘good morning’)
spirithamajiéhapan-kianósokinoxá (‘enemy’)
fivetsátokwahá (tsátho-kwaʔa ‘left.side-hand’)xopa-kuáxasaksu-kuaxa
eleventapásaɲóhačimatóse-kiésäčipsé ipa-kiaxi

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  1. 1 2 Tinigua at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ""Su cultura y lengua morirán con él"". BBC News Mundo (in Spanish).
  3. 1 2 Epps, Patience; Michael, Lev, eds. (2023). Amazonian Languages: Language Isolates. Volume II: Kanoé to Yurakaré. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN   978-3-11-043273-2.
  4. Tobal, Juan Pablo (21 February 2013). "El último Tinígua" (in Spanish). La Voz.
  5. ""Su cultura y lengua morirán con él"". BBC News Mundo (in Spanish).
  6. Castellví, F. Marcelino de. 1940. La lengua tinigua. Journal de la Société des Americanistes de Paris 32. 93–101.

Further reading