A language of Ecuador

Alternate Names
Huao, Huao Auca, Huaorani, Sabela, Wao, Wao Terero, Wao Tiriro, Waodäni, Waodäni Tededö, Waos, Waotededo, “Auca” (pej.)
Wao Tededö

1,650 (2004). Ethnic population: 2,420 (2010 census).


Orellana province: south from Tiputini river, including portions of Yasuní National Park; Pastaza province: Arajuno and Pastaza cantons including a small group near Puyo community; Napo province; eastern jungle between Napo and Curaray rivers.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened).



Language Use

The language is considered to be endangered due to emerging Huaorani-Quichua bilingualism brought about by mixed marriages and bilingual education programs taught by Quichua teachers who do not speak Huaorani (Crevels 2007). Some of all ages. A few also use Napo Quichua [qvo], Northern Pastaza Quichua [qvz], Shuar [jiv]. A few also use Tena Lowland Quichua [quw], mostly those who are married to Quichua and their children. Also use Spanish [spa].

Language Development

Literature. Grammar. Texts. NT: 1992.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Mixed marriage families include mostly Quichua but also Shuar [jiv] and Záparo [zro] individuals who rely upon Spanish [spa] for communication (2015 P. Kelley). Spanish is more likely to extinguish the language because the mixed marriages tend to use both languages plus the attraction to Spanish-speaking towns and impact by non-Waorani teachers who are aggressive in denigrating Waorani (2015 J. Yost). Traditional religion, Christian.

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