Ethnologue: Areas: Americas

Chile

Language Map

Republic of Chile, República de Chile. 14,237,000 (1995). Literacy rate 92% to 95%. Information mainly from Grete Mostny 1965, SIL 1978-1995. Christian, secular, traditional religion. Blind population 100,000. Deaf institutions: 7. Data accuracy estimate: A2, B. The number of languages listed for Chile is 12. Of those, 10 are living languages and 2 are extinct.

AYMARA, CENTRAL [AYM] 899 (1994 Hans Gundermann K.) speakers in Chile out of 20,000 population (1983 SIL); 2,200,000 in all countries. Mountains of extreme north, first region (Tarapacá); Arica, Parinacota, Iquique. Also in Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. Aymaran. Chilean Aymara is very close to La Paz, Bolivia dialect. Bible 1987-1993. NT 1954-1977. Bible portions 1829-1966.

CHILEAN SIGN LANGUAGE [CSG] Deaf sign language. Survey needed.

HUILLICHE (VELICHE, HUILICHE) [HUH] Several thousand speakers (1982 SIL R. Croese); mainly over 60 years old, out of an ethnic group of 156,000 (1989 Contreras and Alvarez-Santullano). South of the Mapuche, Tenth Region, from Valdivia to Chiloé. Araucanian. Dialect: TSESUNGÚN. Related to Mapudungun, but barely intelligible with it. Used mainly among friends and for ceremonial purposes. Most of the ethnic group speaks Spanish as first language. Mountain valleys.

KAKAUHUA (KAUKAUE, CACAHUE) [KBF] Alacalufan. Extinct.

KAWESQAR (KAWESKAR, QAWASQAR, ALACALUFE, ALACALUF, HALAKWULUP) [ALC] 20, including 10 in Puerto Edén (1996 Oscar Aguilera). Channel region, western Patagonia, Isle of Wellington off south Chilean coast, 49 degrees south with center in Puerto Edén. Speakers of the extinct Aksanás dialect also lived in Puerto Edén. Alacalufan. Dialect: AKSANÁS (AKSANA). The youngest speakers range between 3 and 20 years old (1996). Reports are that speakers are not bilingual in Spanish (Christos Clairos, M. Ruhlen 1987, personal communication), and that they are 20% monolingual in Kawesqar (O. Aguilera 1996, personal communication.) Speakers have positive language attitudes. J. Suarez says Aksanás vocabulary differences might be explained by word taboos. Rainy, cold weather. Dictionary. Grammar. Fishermen. Survey needed.

KUNZA (LIKANANTAÍ, LIPE, ULIPE, ATACAMEÑO) [KUZ] A few speakers were located in 1949 and since by anthropologists. Peine, Socaire (Salar de Atacama), and Caspana. Unclassified. Some early grammatical essays exist. Greenberg places in Macro-Chibchan. Group now speaks Spanish. Extinct.

MAPUDUNGUN (MAPUDUNGU, ARAUCANO, MAPUCHE) [ARU] 400,000 in Chile, 200,000 of whom are active users of the language (1982 R. Croese SIL); 40,000 or more in Argentina (1975 Golbert); 440,000 total. Between the Itata and Tolten rivers. Araucanian. Dialects: MOLUCHE (NGOLUCHE, MANZANERO), PICUNCHE, PEHUENCHE. Partly bilingual. Easy intelligibility among all dialects. Pehuenche and Moluche are very close. The language is called 'Mapudungun'; the people Mapuche. 85,000 are reported to be literate in Spanish. Typology: SVO. Levels of bilingualism in Spanish are 0:0%, 1:8%, 2:50%, 3:30%, 4:10%, 5:2%. Mountain slope, coastal, plains, riverine. Peasant agriculturalists. Altitude: 0 to 2,000 meters. Traditional religion, Christian. Bible portions 1901-1930. Work in progress.

QUECHUA, CHILEAN [QUE] Northern second region. Quechuan, Quechua II, C. May be intelligible with, or the same as, Bolivian Quechua or Northwest Jujuy Quechua of Argentina. There may be no Quechua speakers in Chile. Survey needed.

RAPA NUI (EASTER ISLAND, PASCUENSE) [PBA] 2,200 on Easter Island; 200 to 300 on Chile mainland, Tahiti, and USA (1981 R. Weber SIL); 2,400 to 2,500 in all countries. Easter Island, 3,800 km. from Chile, 4,000 from Tahiti. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, East, Rapanui. 64% lexical similarity with Hawaiian, Mangareva, Rarotonga; 63% with Marquesas; 62% with Tahitian, Paumotu. Spanish is used as second language. 25% to 50% literate. Difficult cultivation. Rainy. Typology: VSO. Tropical. Volcanic island. Fishermen, craftsmen. Work in progress.

ROMANI, VLACH [RMY] Several hundred thousand in Latin America (1984 Ian Hancock); 1,500,000 in all countries (1986 estimate). Also in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Albania, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, USA, England. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Vlax. A Gypsy language. Christian. NT 1984-1986. Bible portions 1930-1986.

SPANISH (ESPAÑOL, CASTELLANO) [SPN] 13,800,000 in Chile (1995; 25% Spanish, 66% Mestizo); 266,000,000 in all countries (1987 Time). Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Ibero-Romance, North, Central. National language. Bible 1553-1979. NT 1543-1986. Bible portions 1514-1985.

YÁMANA (YAGHAN, YAGÁN, TEQUENICA, HÁUSI KÚTA) [YAG] 4 women speakers, from 56 to 70 years old, who are married to Spanish men and raised their children as Spanish speakers (1990 A. Salas and A. Valencia). Patagonia, Isla Navarino, Puerto Williams, Ukika hamlet. Extinct in Argentina. Language Isolate. One report says that there are still speakers near the Beagle Canal Naval Base in Chile. Tovar (1961) says it was closest to Alacaluf, and had some relationship to Ona. Earlier there were up to five dialects. Their name for their language is 'Háusi Kúta'. Bible portions 1881-1886. Nearly extinct.


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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.

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