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Charruan languages

EthnicityCharrúa people
Uruguay and Entre Ríos Province, Argentina
Linguistic classificationLule–VilelaMataco–Guaicuru
  • Charruan

    Yañá NBEUÁ
    Yañá NTIMPÚC

Pre-contact distribution of the Charruan languages

The Charruan languages are a present group of languages once spoken in Uruguay and the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. In 2005 a semi-speaker of Chaná language was found.[2]

Four languages are considered to definitively belong to the Charruan language family, basically Chañá (Lanték), Nbeuá, Charrúa and Guenoa.[3]

  • Chaná
    • Lanték YAÑÁ (proper name of Chaná language)
    • Yañá NBEUÁ (the wrongly named "Mbeguá", "Beguá", "Chaná-Beguá", etc.)
    • Yañá NTIMPÚC (the wrongly named "Timbúes", "Chaná TImbúes", "Timbó", "Chaná timbó", etc.)
  • Charrúa
  • Güenoa

A number of unattested languages are also presumed to belong to the Charruan family:[3]

Vocabulary Comparison

The Charruan languages are poorly attested. However, sufficient vocabulary has been gathered for the languages to be compared:[3][4]

English Charrua Chaná Güenoa
me m' mi-tí hum
you m' mutí /em/ baté m
we rampti/ am-ptí rambuí
eye i-hou ocál
ear i-mau / i-man timó
mouth ej hek / obá
hand guar nam
foot / toe atit eté
water hué atá
sun dioi
dog lohán agó
white huok
one u-gil / ngui yut
two sam usan / amá
three detí / datit detit / heít detit
know sepé seker
good / nice bilú oblí / oblé
brother/sister inchalá nchalá
friend huamá uamá
why? / how? retám retanle*
who? ua-reté
past (suf.) ndau / nden edam

Genetic relations

Jorge Suárez includes Charruan with Guaicuruan in a hypothetical Waikuru-Charrúa stock. Morris Swadesh includes Charruan along with Guaicuruan, Matacoan, and Mascoyan within his Macro-Mapuche stock. Both proposals appear to be obsolete.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Charruan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ La Nación, "Investigan los orígenes de una extraña lengua indígena" 2005/July/01
  3. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968), Classification of South American Indian Languages, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center
  4. ^ This comparison table is a revision by Br. José Damián Torko Gómez, base on the J.C. Sábat Pébet and J.J. Figueira compilation of all terms known of the "uruguayan" aboriginal languages.- Source: []