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Aguaruna language

Native toPerú
EthnicityAguaruna people
Native speakers
38,000 (2000)[1]
  • Aguaruna
Language codes
ISO 639-3agr

Aguaruna is an indigenous American language of the Jivaroan family spoken by about 45,000 Aguaruna people in Peru. The speakers live along the western portion of the Marañón River and also along the Potro, Mayo, and Cahuapanas rivers. Native speakers currently prefer the name Awajún. According to the Ethnologue, there are almost no monolingual speakers; nearly all also speak Spanish. The school system begins with Aguaruna only; as the students progress, Spanish is gradually added. There is a positive outlook and connotation in regard to bilingualism. 60 to 100% are literate and 50 to 75% are literate in Spanish. Huambisa and Achuar-Siwiar are closely related languages. A modest dictionary of the language has been published.



Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasals m m n n ŋ g j
Stops/Affricates p p (b b) t t (d d) t͡s ts t͡ʃ ch k k ʔ h
Fricatives s s ʃ sh h j
Approximants ʋ w j y/ñ ɰ g


  • The existence of the voiced plosives [b] and [d] is disputed, they are in free variation with [m] and [n].
  • Some interpret [ŋ] and [ɰ] as allophones, with [ɰ] appearing at the onset and [ŋ] in the coda. However, both may occur intervocalically. Older speakers may have the allophone [x] for /ŋ/ in word-final position.
    • Others consider them distinct phonemes, with [ŋ] having the allophone [h̃].
  • /j/ is written ñ when nasalized due to a following nasal vowel.


Front Central Back
Close i i ɨ e u u
Open a a


  • The close back [u] is the only rounded vowel.
  • All vowels can be nasalized or lengthened. Nasal vowels may be ĩ ẽ ũ ã but are often not distinguished in writing, though they may be the only cue for nasalized consonants.


  1. ^ Aguaruna at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Aguaruna". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Adelaar, Willem F.H. with Pieter C. Muysken. (2004) The languages of the Andes (especially section 4.4 The Jivaroan languages). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Asangkay Sejekam, Nexar. (2006). Awajún. Ilustraciones fonéticas de lenguas amerindias, ed. Stephen A. Marlett. Lima: SIL International y Universidad Ricardo Palma. [1]
  • Asangkay Sejekam, Nexar. (2006) La situación sociolingüística de la lengua awajún en 2006. Situaciones sociolingüísticas de lenguas amerindias, ed. Stephen A. Marlett. Lima: SIL International and Universidad Ricardo Palma. [2]
  • Asangkay Sejekam, Nexar and Edwardo Gomez Antuash. (2009). Diccionario awajún-castellano (versión preliminar). [3]
  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian languages: the historical linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Corbera Mori, Ángel (1981). Glosario Aguaruna-Castellano Universidad Nacional Maqyor de San Marcos, Documento de Trabajo, Centro de Investigación de Lingüística Aplicada 44. 78 pp.
  • Corbera Mori, Ángel. (1984) Bibliografía de la familia lingüística jíbaro 1. Lima: Centro de Investigación de Lingüística Aplicada, Documento de Trabajo 48, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
  • Solís Fonseca, Gustavo. (2003) Lenguas en la amazonía peruana. Lima: edición por demanda.
  • Uwarai Yagkug, Abel; Isaac Paz Suikai, y Jaime Regan. (1998) Diccionario aguaruna-castellano, awajún chícham apáchnaujai. Lima: Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica.

External links