This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

Wari’ language

Native toBrazil
EthnicityWari’ people
Native speakers
1,900 (2007)[1]
  • Wari languages
    • Wari’
Language codes
ISO 639-3pav
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Wari’ language (also Orowari, Wari, Pacaá Novo, Pacaás Novos, Pakaa Nova, Pakaásnovos) is the sole remaining vibrant language of the Chapacuran language family of the Brazilian–Bolivian border region of the Amazon. It has about 1300–1800 speakers, also called Wari’.

Wari’ has two phonetic oddities: its "skewed" vowel inventory, and the voiceless bilabially post-trilled dental stop [t͡ʙ̥], which is only reported from four other languages, and is only phonemic in Wari' and two neighbouring languages.


Wari’ syllables range in complexity from CV to CVVC. The only exceptions appear to be final consonant clusters involving a glottal stop (see below).


Bilabial Dental Post-
Velar Glottal
plain labial.
Nasal m n
Stop p t k ʔ
Trilled affricate t͡ʙ̥
Fricative ʃ
Approximant j w h
Flap ɾ

/t͡ʙ̥/ is a bilabial trill preceded by a dental stop, forming a single unit. Only about 24 words contain the sound, some of which are onomatopoeic.

Wari’ has words ending in the consonant clusters /mʔ/ and /nʔ/. These have been analysed as single sounds, but apparently only to avoid complicating the Wari’ syllable structure.


Wari’ has one of the world's most asymmetrical vowel systems. Vowels are generally expected to be somewhat evenly distributed in vowel space, not bunched into a corner. Additionally, vowels are expected to be unrounded when front and rounded when back until "gaps" in the vowel system have been filled. Although Wari’ has only six vowels, four of these are close/close-mid front vowels, of which two are rounded (although /ø/ is uncommon). Non-native speakers have marked difficulty in distinguishing these front vowels, that contrast with only a single back vowel /o/.

Front Back
UR round
Close i y
Close-mid e ø o
Open a


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