Aymaran languages

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Jaqi, Aru
Central South America, Andes Mountains
Linguistic classification: Quechumaran ?
  • Aymaran
Glottolog: ayma1253[1]
Dark color: current extent of Aymaran languages. Light color: former extent, as evidenced by toponomy.

Aymaran (also Jaqi, Aru, Jaqui, Aimara, Haki) is one of the two dominant language families of the central Andes, along with Quechuan.

Hardman (1978) proposed the name Jaqi for the family of languages (1978), Alfredo Torero Aru 'to speak', and Rodolfo Cerrón Palomino Aymaran, with two branches, Southern (or Altiplano) Aymaran and Central Aymaran (Jaqaru and Kawki).

Quechuan languages, especially those of the south, share a large amount of vocabulary with Aymara, and the languages have often been grouped together as Quechumaran. This proposal is controversial, however; the shared vocabulary may be better explained as intensive borrowing due to long-term contact.

Family division

Aymaran consists of two languages:

  • Aymara. Southern and Central dialects divergent and sometimes considered separate languages.
  • Jaqaru (Haqearu, Haqaru, Haq'aru, Aru). Kawki dialect (Cauqui, Cachuy) is divergent.

Aymara has approximately 2.2 million speakers; 1.7 million in Bolivia, 350,000 in Peru, and the rest in Chile and Argentina. Jaqaru has approximately 725 speakers in central Peru, and Laeki had 9 surviving speakers as of 2005. Kawki is little documented though its relationship with Jaqaru is extremely close. Initially, they were considered by Martha Hardman (on very limited data at the time) to be different languages, but all subsequent fieldwork and research has contradicted that and demonstrated that they are mutually intelligible but divergent dialects of a single language.

See also


  • Adelaar, Willem F. H.; & Muysken, Pieter C. (2004). The languages of the Andes. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The native languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the world's languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Aymara". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>