A language of Ecuador

Alternate Names
Huao, 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). Statutory language of provincial identity in Orellana, Pastaza and Napo provinces (2008, Constitution, Articles 16 and 57(21), as revised).



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). 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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