A language of Colombia

Alternate Names
Carib Motilón, Macoíta, Northern Motilón, Yuco, Yucpa, Yuko, Yupa

3,000 in Colombia (2009 W. Largo). Population total all countries: 6,020. 600 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 3,530 (Arango Ochoa 1998).


Serranía de Perijá, Cesar Department, Augustín Codazzi municipality and neighboring municipalities north and south, Colombia-Venezuela border. Río Casacará dialect in Agustín Codassi municipality along Casacará river and Caño Iroka. Yukpa sur dialect, Becerril municipality.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Coyaima, Río Casacará (Iroka), Río Maracas, Yukpa sur (Caño Padilla-La Laguna). At least 5 extant dialects including 2 in Venezuela. Río Cascará and Río Maracas dialects are probably largest, and may be separate languages. Venezuela dialects seem more similar to Río Maracas. Unrelated to Barí [mot]. Lexical similarity: 60% with Japreria [jru] of Venezuela (2008 W. Largo).


SOV; postpositions; possessives and common nouns marked with prefixes, human gender with suffixes; up to 2 prefixes, 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by word order; verbal affixation marks person and number; non-ergative; both tense and aspect; passives and voice; 13 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; nontonal.

Language Use

Vigorous. Inside protected areas the language is used all the time; outside those areas, it is only spoken when there are no outsiders present (Crevels 2007). Men use Spanish [spa] for buying and selling only.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 50%. Literacy rate in L2: 70%. Taught in primary schools. New media. Dictionary.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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