Ashéninka language

Not to be confused with Asháninka language.
Native to Peru
Ethnicity Ashéninka people
Native speakers
50,000 (2001–2002)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
prq  Perené
cpu  Pichis
cpc  Apurucayali
cpb  Ucayali-Yurúa
cjo  Pajonal
cpy  South Ucayali (spurious)
Glottolog ashe1271  (Asheninka)[2]

Ashéninka (Ashéninca, Ashéninga) is an indigenous American language of the Arawakan family spoken in Peru. According to the indigenous peoples database of the Peruvian Ministry of Education,[3] the Ashéninka people are 9,005 individuals. The Ethnologue gives much higher figures for the different Ashéninka varieties.

The Glottolog distinguishes five different Ashéninka languages (Perené, Pichis, Apurucayali, Pajonal and Ucayali-Yurúa). This classification was established by David Payne in his Apurucayali Axininca grammar,[4] but he referred to these different varieties as dialects and not as different languages.[4]:3–5 Therefore, the present state of research does not allow to know until which extent the different Ashéninka varieties are mutually intelligible among them and with Asháninka.[5][6][7] However, Heitzman[5] says that the Pajonal and Ucayali varieties are mutually intelligible and Payne[6]:14 says that Asháninka speakers can communicate with Ashéninka Perené speakers, but not with Ashéninka Apurucayali speakers.

Ashéninka is a locally official language in Peru, as are all native Peruvian languages. It and its relatives are also known by the largely pejorative term Campa.


In Asháninka alphabet are 15 letters and 10 diphthongs: Aa, Aa aa, Ch ch, Ee, Ee ee, Ii, Ii ii, Jj, Kk, Mm, Nn, Ññ, Oo, Oo oo, Pp, Rr, Ss, Sh sh, Tt, Th th, Ts ts, Ty ty, Tz tz, Ww and Yy.

Other letters are also used, but only in loanwords and in foreign names.


  1. Perené at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Pichis at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Apurucayali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Ucayali-Yurúa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Pajonal at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    South Ucayali (spurious) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Asheninka". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Base de datos de pueblos indígenas u originarios – Ashéninka". Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  4. 1 2 Payne, David L. (1981). The Phonology and Morphology of Axininca Campa. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  5. 1 2 Heitzman, Allene. 1973. Reflexes of some proto-Campa consonants in modern Campan languages and dialects. University of Kansas. MA thesis. p. 1
  6. 1 2 Payne, Judith K. (1989). Lecciones para el aprendizaje del idioma ashéninca (in Spanish). Yarinacocha: Ministerio de Educación & Instituto Lingüístico de Verano. p. 14.
  7. Mihas, Elena (2015). A Grammar of Alto Perené (Arawak). Berlin: Mouton.

External links

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