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Languages of Venezuela

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Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, República Bolivariana de Venezuela. 25,017,387. Population includes 145,230 American Indians (Mosonyi 1987). National or official language: Spanish. Literacy rate: 88% (1991 WA). Also includes Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Corsican, Cubeo, English (20,000), Inga (4,000), Latvian, Arabic (110,000), Chinese (400,000). Information mainly from M. Durbin and H. Seijas 1973; E. Migliazza 1977. Deaf population: 1,246,674. Deaf institutions: 3. The number of languages listed for Venezuela is 46. Of those, 40 are living languages and 6 are extinct.

Living languages

Akawaio

[ake] Few speakers in Venezuela. Bolivar State. Alternate names: Acewaio, Akawai, Acawayo, Acahuayo, Waicá.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon 
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Arawak

[arw] 100 in Venezuela (2002 SIL). Coastal area near Guyana, Delta Amacuro. Alternate names: Arowak, Lokono.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean 
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Arutani

[atx] 2 in Venezuela (2002 SIL). Ethnic population: 39 in Venezuela (2002 SIL). Below the Sape of the Karum River area, Bolivar State, headwaters of the Paraqua and Uraricáa rivers. Alternate names: Auaqué, Auake, Awaké, Uruak, Urutani, Aoaqui, Oewaku.  Classification: Arutani-Sape  Nearly extinct.
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Baniwa

[bwi] 433 in Venezuela (2002 SIL). Ethnic population: 1,150 (2002 SIL). Amazonas, between the Curipaco and the Guarequena, along the Colombian border. Alternate names: Baniua do Içana, Maniba, Baniva, Baniba.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Barí

[mot] 850 in Venezuela (1980 Seely). Venezuelan and Colombian border, Zulia State. Alternate names: Motilone, Motilón.  Classification: Chibchan, Motilon 
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Carib

[car] 7,251 in Venezuela (2000 WCD). Population total all countries: 10,226. Monagas and Anzoategui states, northeast near Orinoco River mouth, plus a few communities in Bolivar State, just south of Orinoco. Also spoken in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname. Alternate names: Caribe, Cariña, Kalihna, Kalinya, Galibi.  Dialects: Tabajari.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Galibi 
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Chaima

[ciy]  Eastern Venezuela coastal region. Alternate names: Chayma, Sayma, Warapiche, Guaga-Tagare.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Coastal 
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Cuiba

[cui] 650 in Venezuela (1995 SIL). Nearly all are monolingual. Apure Division. Alternate names: Cuiva.  Dialects: Chiricoa, Amaruwa (Amorua), Masiguare, Siripu, Yarahuuraxi-Capanapara, Mella, Ptamo, Sicuane (Sicuari).  Classification: Guahiban 
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Curripaco

[kpc] 210 in Venezuela (1970 census). Amazonas. Alternate names: Curipaco, Kuripako, Kurripako.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Eñepa

[pbh] 1,200. Nearly all are monolingual. 150 mile perimeter south of Caicaro de Orinoco basin of the Cuchivero River; Bolivar State. Two groups: jungle and highland. 20 or more villages. Alternate names: Panare, Panari, Abira, Eye.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Western Guiana 
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German, Colonia Tovar

[gct]   Alternate names: Alemán Coloneiro.  Dialects: Developed from the Alemannisch (Oberdeutsch) of 1843 under the influence of many other dialects of south Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Not intelligible with Standard German.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Upper German, Alemannic 
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Guahibo

[guh] 5,000 in Venezuela. Orinoco River from Caicaro de Orinoco on the upper Orinoco, Amazonas, and Apure states. Alternate names: Guajibo, Wahibo.  Classification: Guahiban 
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Guarequena

[gae] 367 in Venezuela. Population total all countries: 705. Village of Guzmán Blanco, half an hour below Maroa. San Miguel River, Amazonas. Also possibly in Colombia. Also spoken in Brazil. Alternate names: Guarekena, Arequena, Urequema, Uerequema, Warekena.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Japrería

[jru] 90 to 100 (2002 SIL). Ethnic population: 152 (2000 WCD). Northern region of Sierra de Perija, Zulia State. Alternate names: Yaprería.  Dialects: Not inherently intelligible with other Carib languages of the area (M. Durbin). Low lexical similarity with Yukpa (Luis Oquendo: U. of Zulia).  Classification: Carib, Northern, Coastal 
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Maco

[wpc] 2,500 (2002 Miller). Tributaries of the Ventuari River, Wapuchi, Paru, Yureba, and Marueta rivers, in the villages of Marueta, Wapuchi, Porvenir, Tavi-Tavi, Mariche, Morocoto. Alternate names: Mako, Itoto, Wotuja, Jojod.  Classification: Salivan 
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Macushi

[mbc] 600 in Venezuela. Eastern border area. Alternate names: Makusi, Makuxi, Makushi, Teweya.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Macushi 
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Mandahuaca

[mht] 3,000 in Venezuela (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Population total all countries: 3,003. Colombian border in extreme southwest, Amazonas, east of the Baré on the Baria River and Casiquiare Canal. Also spoken in Brazil. Alternate names: Mandauaca, Mandawaka, Ihini, Arihini, Maldavaca, Cunipusana, Yavita, Mitua.  Dialects: Related to Adzaneni, Yabaana, Masaca.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Mapoyo

[mcg] 3 (2000 Muller). Ethnic population: 120. Suapure River, 100 kilometers north of La Urbana, Amazonas. Alternate names: Mapayo, Mapoye, Mopoi, Nepoye, Wanai.  Dialects: Close to Yawarana.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Western Guiana  Nearly extinct.
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Maquiritari

[mch] 4,970 in Venezuela (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Population total all countries: 5,240. Bolivar State and Amazonas, near the Brazilian border on the mid-Paragua, Caura, Erebato, upper Ventuari, upper Auaris, Matacuni, Cuntinano, Padamo, and Cunucunuma rivers. Also spoken in Brazil. Alternate names: Maiongong, Maquiritare, Yekuana, De'cuana, Ye'cuana, Maquiritai, Soto, Cunuana, Pawana.  Classification: Carib, Southern, Southern Guiana 
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Nhengatu

[yrl] 2,000 in Venezuela (1987 Mosonyi).  Alternate names: Yeral, Geral, Waengatu, Modern Tupi.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Subgroup III 
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Ninam

[shb] 100 in Venezuela. Karun and Paragua rivers, Bolivar State. Alternate names: Yanam, Xiriana.  Dialects: Northern Ninam, Southern Ninam.  Classification: Yanomam 
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Pemon

[aoc] 5,000 in Venezuela (2001 Becsky). Many are monolingual. Population total all countries: 6,154. Ethnic population: 18,871 in Venezuela (1993 census, may include Macushi). Bolivar State, Gran Sabana and adjacent areas, southeastern Venezuela. Also spoken in Brazil, Guyana. Alternate names: Pemong.  Dialects: Camaracoto, Taurepan (Taulipang), Arecuna (Aricuna, Arekuna, Jaricuna, Pemon, Daigok, Potsawugok, Pishauco, Purucoto, Kamaragakok). Marginally intelligible with Akawaio and Patamona. The Camaracoto dialect may be a distinct language.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Macushi-Kapon, Kapon 
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Pémono

[pev] 1 (2000 M-C Mattei Muller). Lives with the Yabarana in an Upper Majagua village. Dialects: Close to Mapoyo and Yawarana.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Western Guiana  Nearly extinct.
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Piapoco

[pio] 99 in Venezuela (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Area of San Fernando de Atapapo, Amazonas along the Orinoco. Alternate names: Dzaze, Piapoko.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Piaroa

[pid] 12,000 in Venezuela (1987 UBS). Population includes 130 Maco. Population total all countries: 12,080. South bank of the Orinoco River, inland from the Paguasa River to Manipiari, Amazonas. Large area. Also spoken in Colombia. Alternate names: Kuakua, Guagua, Quaqua.  Classification: Salivan 
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Puinave

[pui] 240 in Venezuela (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Amazonas. Alternate names: Puinare, Wanse.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Pumé

[yae] 3,396 (2000 WCD). Orinoco, Sinaruco, Meta, and Apure rivers, Amazonas and Apure states. Alternate names: Llaruro, Yaruro, Yaruru, Yuapín.  Classification: Unclassified 
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Sáliba

[slc] 250 in Venezuela (1991 Adelaar). Cedoño Department. Alternate names: Sáliva.  Classification: Salivan 
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Sanumá

[xsu] 4,612 in Venezuela (2000 WCD). Population includes 500 Yanoma. Population total all countries: 5,074. Caura and Ervato-Ventuari rivers. Also spoken in Brazil. Alternate names: Tsanuma, Sanema, Sanima, Guaika, Samatari, Samatali, Xamatari, Chirichano.  Dialects: Yanoma, Cobari (Kobali, Cobariwa).  Classification: Yanomam 
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Sapé

[spc] 5 (1977 E. Migliazza). Ethnic population: 25 or fewer (1977 Migliazza). 3 small settlements on Paragua and Karuna rivers. Alternate names: Kariana, Kaliána, Caliana, Chirichano.  Dialects: Some lexical correspondences Warao (Language Isolate). Greenberg classified it provisionally as Macro-Tucanoan.  Classification: Arutani-Sape  Nearly extinct.
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Sikiana

[sik]   Alternate names: Sikiána, Shikiana, Chiquiana, Chikena, Chiquena.  Classification: Carib, Northern, East-West Guiana, Waiwai, Sikiana  Nearly extinct.
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Spanish

[spa] 21,480,000 in Venezuela (1995).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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Tunebo, Central

[tuf]  Apure State. Classification: Chibchan, Chibchan Proper, Tunebo 
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Venezuelan Sign Language

[vsl]   Dialects: The sign language used in the classroom is different from the one used by adults outside.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Warao

[wba] 18,000 in Venezuela (1993 UBS). 10,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 27,000. On the delta of the Orinoco River, Delta Amacuro, Sucre, Monagas. Also spoken in Guyana, Suriname. Alternate names: Guarauno, Guarao, Warrau.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Wayuu

[guc] 170,000 in Venezuela (1995 SIL). Zulia State, Guajira Peninsula. Alternate names: Guajiro, Guajira, Goajiro.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean 
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Yabarana

[yar] 20 to 50 (1977 Migliazza). North central, Nueva Esparta, area of the Manapiare River basin above the village of San Juan de Manapiare, Amazonas. Alternate names: Yauarana, Yawarana.  Dialects: Curasicana, Wokiare (Uaiquiare, Guayqueri). Close to Mapoyo and Pémono.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Western Guiana  Nearly extinct.
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Yanomamö

[guu] 15,710 in Venezuela (2000 WCD). Population total all countries: 17,653. Orinoco-Mavaca area. The Eastern dialect is in the Parima Mountains, east of Batau River, Western dialect in Padamo River basin; Ocamo, Manaviche, and upper Orinoco rivers; and south of the Orinoco River up to headwaters of Marania and Cauaburi rivers, and a number of large villages in the Siapa River area in southern Venezuela. Also spoken in Brazil. Alternate names: Yanomame, Yanomami, Guaica, Guaharibo, Guajaribo, Shamatari, Cobari Kobali, Cobariwa.  Dialects: Eastern Yanomami (Parima), Western Yanomami (Padamo-Orinoco). Related to Yanomámi (Waiká) of Brazil. The Cobari dialect is easily intelligible with the others.  Classification: Yanomam 
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Yukpa

[yup] 500 in Venezuela. Areas adjacent to Colombia border, Zulia State. Alternate names: Yuko, Yucpa, Yupa, Northern Motilón.  Dialects: Yrapa, Río Negro.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Coastal 
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Yuwana

[yau] 300 (1970 census). Central Venezuela. A northern group is in Bolivar Division on the Kaima River, a tributary of the Cuchivero River; an isolated southern group is in Amazonas on the Iguana, a tributary of the Asita River, and on the Parucito, a tributary of the Manapiare River. Alternate names: Yoana, Yuana, Waruwaru, Chicano, Chikano, Joti, Jodi, Hoti.  Dialects: There are linguistic similarities to Yanomamö and Piaroa (Salivan).  Classification: Unclassified 
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Extinct languages

Baniva

[bvv] Extinct. Colombian border area. Alternate names: Avani, Ayane, Abane.  Dialects: Baniva, Quirruba.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Baré

[bae] Extinct. Ethnic population: Perhaps 238 (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Colombian border in extreme southwest, Amazonas, along the upper Rio Negro from Brazil-Venezuela border to the Casiquiare Canal, Maroa. Alternate names: Barawana, Barauna, Barauana, Ihini, Arihini, Maldavaca, Cunipusana, Yavita, Mitua.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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Cumanagoto

[cuo] Extinct. Eastern Venezuela coastal region. Classification: Carib, Northern, Coastal 
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Paraujano

[pbg] Extinct. Ethnic population: 4,306 (1975 Gaceta Indigenista). Lake Maracaibo, near Guajiro, Zulia State. Alternate names: Parahujano, Añú.  Dialects: Alile, Toa.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean 
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Tamanaku

[tmz] Extinct. Near Mapoyo and Yawarana. Dialects: Similar to Eñepa.  Classification: Carib, Northern, Western Guiana 
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Yavitero

[yvt] Extinct.  Alternate names: Paraene.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Inland 
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