Uwa language

Uw Cuwa
Native to Colombia, formerly in Venezuela
Region the largest groups live on the northern slopes of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Boyacá Department
Ethnicity U'wa
Native speakers
1,800–3,600 (2004)[1]
  • Chibcha–Motilon

    • Chibcha–Tunebo
      • Uwa
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
tnd  Angosturas Tunebo/Bahiyakuwa
tbn  Barro Negro Tunebo (Eastern Tunebo/Yithkaya)
tuf  Central Tunebo (Cobaría/Kubaru'wa & Tegría/Tagrinuwa)
tnb  Western Tunebo (Aguas Blancas/Rikuwa)
Glottolog tune1260[2]

The Uwa language, Uw Cuwa, commonly known as Tunebo, is a Chibchan language spoken by between 1,800 and 3,600 of the Uwa people of Colombia, out of a total population of about 7,000.[1]


There are half a dozen known varieties. Communication between modern varieties can be difficult, so they are considered distinct languages.

Adelaar (2004) lists the living

Umaña (2012) lists Cobaría, Tegría, Agua Blanca, Barro Negro.

Berich lists the dialects Cobaría; Agua Blanca (= Uncasía, Tamarana, Sta Marta); Rinconada, Tegría, Bócota, & Báchira

Cassani lists Sínsiga, Tegría, Unkasía (= Margua), Pedraza, Manare, Dobokubí (= Motilón)

Osborn (1989) lists

the latter all extinct

Fabre (2005) lists:

Additional names in Loukotka are Manare and Uncasica (presumably a spelling variant of Unkasía/Uncacía), as well as Morcote, of which nothing is known. Manare, at the source of the Casanare, is Eastern Tunebo.



Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Voiceless stop t k ʔ
Voiced Stop b
Fricative s ʃ h
Nasal m n
Vibrant r
Oral semi-vowel w j
Nasal semi-vowel


  1. 1 2 Adelaar & Muysken (2004:109)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tunebo". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.


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