Siona language

Gantëya coca
Native to Colombia, Ecuador
Region Putumayo River
Ethnicity Siona people, Teteté people
Native speakers
500 (2000–2008)[1]
  • Western

    • Napo
      • Siona–Secoya
        • Siona
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
snn  Siona
teb  Teteté
Glottolog sion1247[2]

The Siona language (otherwise known as Sioni, Pioje, Pioche-Sioni, Ganteyabain, Ganteya, Ceona, Zeona, Koka, Kanú) is a Tucanoan language of Colombia and Ecuador.

As of 2013, Siona is spoken by about 550 people.[3] Teteté dialect (Eteteguaje) is extinct.[4]



There are 6 oral vowels and six nasal vowels. Only nasal vowels occur next to a nasal consonant /m/ or /n/.

Back Central Front
High i ĩ ɨ ɨ̃ u ũ
Mid ɛ æ̃ o õ
Low a ã

There are two series of obstruent consonant. Both often produce a noticeable delay before the onset of the following vowel: the 'fortis' series (written p t č k kw s h hw) tends to be aspirated, with a noisy transition to the vowel, while the 'lenis' series (written b d g gw ’ z), optionally voiced, is glottalized, with a silent transition to the vowel, which in turn tends to be laryngealized. The glottal stop is faint, and noticeable primarily in the laryngealizing effect it has on adjacent vowels.

bilabial alveolar prepalatal velar labio-velar glottal
voiceless plosives t̪ʰ tʃʰ kʷʰ
voiced plosives pˀ ~ bˀ ʈˀ ~ ɖˀ ~ ɾ kˀ ~ ɡˀ kʷˀ ~ ɡʷˀ ʔ
Fricative s ; sˀ ~ zˀ h ; hʷ
Nasal m n
Semi-vowel j ~ ɲ w

/ʈˀ/ is realized as [ɾ] between vowels. /j/ is realized as [ɲ] next to nasal vowels.


Stress is obligatory on all verb stems, root words, and some suffixes. It disappears when the syllable is not the nucleus of a phonological word. Some monosyllabic morphemes have both stressed and unstressed forms. Although the position of stress within a word is not contrastive, vocalic and consonantal allophony depends on whether a syllable is stressed. Initial stressed vowels followed by unstressed vowels are long and have a falling tone.


  1. Siona at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Teteté at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Siona". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Vocabulary of the Language Used by the Indians in These Missions". World Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
  4. Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
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