A language of Colombia

Alternate Names
Carib Motilón, Japrería, Macoíta, Northern Motilone, Northern Motilón, Yuco, Yucpa, Yuko, Yukpa-Japería, Yupa

3,000 in Colombia (2009 W. Largo). 600 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 3,650 (Crevels 2012). Total users in all countries: 6,020.


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

Language Maps
Language Status

6b* (Threatened).


Río Casacará (Iroka), Río Maracas, Yukpa Sur (Caño Padilla-La Laguna), Coyaima. 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). Also use Spanish [spa], especially men, but only for buying and selling.

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 50%. Literacy rate in L2: 70%. Taught in primary schools. Literature. Dictionary. Texts.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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