Desano language

Native to Colombia, Brazil
Region Amazonas
Native speakers
3,400 (1995 – 2001 census)[1]
  • Eastern

    • Central
      • Desano–Siriano
        • Desano
Language codes
ISO 639-3 des
Glottolog desa1247[2]

Desano is a Tucanoan language of Colombia and Brazil. There are several alternative names, including Boleka, Desâna, and Kusibi. It is located primarily in the Northwest Brazil and Southern Colombia.


The primary concentration of Desano people is on the Tiquié River in Brazil and Colombia. This region is populated by a number of other ethnic communities, most notably the Hup people, with whom they share several linguistic and cultural characteristics.


The Desano language has 90% lexical similarity to the Siriano language. The language is reported to have a form of whistled speech.[1]


The Desano people have faced influence from outsiders when the Spanish and Portuguese explored the region. These people brought outside illnesses, one being measles, which negatively impacted the surrounding communities. These explorers also introduced Christianity into the region.


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

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