Charruan languages

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Ethnicity: Charrúa people
Uruguay and Entre Ríos Province, Argentina
Linguistic classification: Mataco–Guaicuru ?
  • Charruan
Glottolog: char1238[1]
Pre-contact distribution of the Charruan languages

The Charruan languages are an extinct group of languages once spoken in Uruguay and the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. In 2005 a semi-speaker of Chaná language was found.[2]

Four languages are considered to definitively belong to the Charruan language family:[3]

A number of unattested languages are also presumed to belong to the Charruan family:[3]

  • Bohane – spoken near Maldonado, Uruguay
  • Calchine – spoken in Santa Fe Province, Argentina, along the Salado River
  • Caracañá – spoken along the Caracañá River, Santa Fe
  • Chaná-Mbegua or Begua – spoken on the Paraná River between Crespo and Victoria
  • Colastiné – spoken in Santa Fe Province near Colastiné
  • Corondá – spoken in Coronda, Santa Fe Province
  • Guaiquiaré – spoken in Entre Ríos on the Arroyo Guaiquiraré
  • Mocoreta or Macurendá or Mocolete – spoken along the Mocoretá River in Entre Ríos
  • Pairindi – spoken in Entre Ríos from Corrientes to the Feliciano River
  • Timbu – spoken in Gaboto, Santa Fe Province
  • Yaro – spoken in Uruguay between the Río Negro and the San Salvador River

Vocabulary Comparison

The Charruan languages are poorly attested. However, sufficient vocabulary has been gathered for the languages to be compared:[3]

English Charrua Chaná Güenoa
eye i-xou
ear i-mau
hand guar mbó
water hué atá
sun dioi
dog samayoí lochan
tree huok
one ugil yut
two sam usan
three detí detit

Genetic relations

Jorge Suárez includes Charruan with Guaicuruan in a hypothetical Waikuru-Charrúa stock. Morris Swadesh includes Charruan along with Guaicuruan, Matacoan, and Mascoyan within his Macro-Mapuche stock. Both proposals appear to be obsolete.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Charruan". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. La Nación, "Investigan los orígenes de una extraña lengua indígena" 2005/July/01
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Loukotka, Čestmír (1968), Classification of South American Indian Languages, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>