Chimuan languages

Chimuan languages
Peruvian Andes
Linguistic classification: Chimu–Chipaya ?
  • Chimúan
Mochica (Yunga)

Chimuan (also Chimúan) or Yuncan is a hypothetical small extinct language family of northern Peru and Ecuador (inter-Andean valley).


Family division

Chimuan consisted of three attested languages:

  • Mochica (aka Yunga, Chimú)
  • Cañar–Puruhá
    • Cañari (aka Cañar, Kanyari)
    • Puruhá (aka Puruwá, Puruguay)

All languages are now extinct.

Mochica was one of the major languages of pre-Columbian South America. It was documented by Fernando de la Carrera and Middendorff in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries respectively. It became extinct ca. 1950, although some people remember a few words. Adelaar & Muysken (2004) consider Mochica a language isolate for now.

Cañari and Puruhá are documented with only a few words. These two languages are usually connected with Mochica. However, as their documentation level is so low, it may not be possible to confirm this association. According to Adelaar & Muysken (2004), Jijón y Caamaño's evidence of their relationship is only a single word: Mochica nech "river", Cañari necha; based on similarities with neighboring languages, he finds a Barbacoan connection more likely.

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 978-0-19-509427-5.
  • 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.

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