Amazonic Spanish

Amazonic Spanish
Loreto-Ucayali Spanish
Native to Peru
Region Loreto River, Ucayali River
Native speakers
2,800 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 spq
Glottolog lore1243[2]

Amazonic Spanish (español amazónico), also known as Loreto-Ucayali Spanish or Jungle Spanish (español de la selva), is a variety of Spanish spoken in the Amazon, especially in the Peruvian Amazon provinces of Loreto and Ucayali. Amazonic Spanish is also spoken in areas of Brazil adjoining Loreto and Ucayali and in the Amazonas Department of Colombia.[3][4][5]

Distinctive features


One of the distinguishing features of Amazonic Spanish is the method of constructing the possessive form: speakers say "de la X su Y" (of the X its Y), instead of standard Spanish "la Y de X" (the Y of X).[5][6] Another distinctive grammatical feature is the use of possessive forms in place of certain genitive forms; compare standard Spanish "Le preguntó a la yaminahua delante de mí" (He asked the Yaminahua woman in front of me) with the Loreto-Ucayali "Le preguntó a la yaminahua en mi delante" (He asked the Yaminahua woman in my front).[7]

Personal names are prefixed with a definite article (el or la, depending on the gender).[5]


/x/ and especially the sequence /xw/ are frequently realized as [f] (as in Juana [ˈfana]).[5]

Amazonic Spanish also incorporates words and expressions borrowed from local indigenous languages.


Amazonic Spanish is sometimes classified as a separate language from standard Spanish, as for example by the Ethnologue; Amazonic Spanish even has its own ISO 639-3 code: spq.[4] However, Ethnologue's reasons for doing this are poorly documented.


  1. Amazonic Spanish at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Loreto-Ucayali Spanish". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Castro-Gómez, S. and Grosfoguel, R. (2007) El giro decolonial Siglo del Hombre Editores, page 170.
  4. 1 2 Ethnologue entry on Jungle Spanish:
  5. 1 2 3 4 Spanish in Brazil,
  6. Situacion linguistica del Peru L2:
  7. Marcone, J. (1997) La oralidad escrita, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. p. 176 Available online in Spanish at

External links

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