Cha'palaa language

Region Ecuador
Native speakers
9,500 (2004)[1]
  • Southern?

    • Cha’palaa
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cbi
Glottolog chac1249[2]

Cha'palaa (also known as Chachi or Cayapa) is a Barbacoan language spoken in northern Ecuador by ca. 3000 ethnic Chachi people.

"Cha'palaa" means "language of the Chachi people." This language was described in part by the missionary P. Alberto Vittadello, who, by the time his description was published in Guayaquil Ecuador in 1988, had lived for seven years among the tribe.

Cha'palaa has agglutinative morphology. It is also case marking, with a Subject-Object-Verb word order.

Cha'palaa is written using the Latin Alphabet, making use of the following graphemes:

A, B, C, CH, D, DY, E, F, G, GU, HU, I, J, L, LL, M, N, Ñ, P, QU, R, S, SH, T, TS, TY, U, V, Y, and '

The writing system includes four simple vowels, and four double vowels:

A, E, I, U, AA, EE, II, UU


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

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