Andoque language

Native to Colombia
Ethnicity 520 Andoque (2007)[1]
Native speakers
370 (2007)[1]
10% monolingual (no date)[2]
Bora–Witoto ?
  • Andoque
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ano
Glottolog ando1256[3]

The Andoque language is an aboriginal language spoken by a few hundred Andoque in Colombia, and is in decline. There were 10,000 speakers in 1908, down to 370 a century later, of which at most 50 are monolingual. The remaining speakers live in the area of the Anduche River, downstream from Aracuara, Amazonas, Colombia; the language is no longer spoken in Peru. 80% of speakers are proficient in Spanish.[1]

Genetic relations

Kaufman's (2007) Bora–Witótoan stock includes Andoque in the Witótoan family, but other linguists, such as Richard Aschmann, consider Andoque an isolate.



Front Central Back
Close i ĩ ɨ u
Mid e ẽ ə ə̃ o õ
Open a ã ʌ ʌ̃ ɒ

There are nine oral vowels and six nasal vowels, which can each take high or low tone.


Labial Coronal Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ (ñ)
Stop voiced b d j (y)
voiceless p t k ʔ
Fricative f s ɨ



The subject noun does not appear alone, but is accompanied by markers for gender or noun classifiers (which are determined by shape). These noun classifiers are as follows:

present (-ya-)
absent (-o-)
present (-î-)
absent (-ô-)
collective (-ə-)
flexible or hollow (-o-)
rigid or elongated (-ó-)
other (-ʌ-)

Person markers include o- ("I"), ha- ("you (singular)"), ka- ("we") and - ("you (plural)").

The adjectival or verbal predicate has a suffix which agrees with the subject: -ʌ for animate subjects and flexible or hollow ones; -ó for rigid or elongated ones; -i for others. Adjectival and verbal predicates are also marked with prefixes indicating mood, direction or aspect, and infixes for tense. The nominal predicate (What something is) does not have a suffix of agreement nor a dynamic prefix, but it can take infixes for tense and mood, like the verb. Other grammatical roles (benefactive, instrumental, locative) appear outside the verb in the form of markers for case. There are 11 case suffixes.


In addition, the sentence has markers for the source of knowledge, or evidentials indicating whether the speaker knows the information communicated firsthand, heard it from another person, has deduced it, etc.

There is also a focus marker -nokó, which draws attention to the participants or indicates the highlight of a story. In the language there are means of representing action from the point of view of the subject or other participants, or from the point of view of an external observer.


  1. 1 2 3 Andoque at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Andoque language at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Andoque". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

See also


External links

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