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Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia
"Linguistic classification "Macro-Chibchan ?
  • Chibchan
"ISO 639-5 cba
"Glottolog chib1249[1]

The Chibchan languages (also Chibchan, Chibchano) make up a "language family indigenous to the "Isthmo-Colombian Area, which extends from eastern "Honduras to northern "Colombia and includes populations of these countries as well as "Nicaragua, "Costa Rica, and "Panama. The name is derived from the name of an "extinct language called "Chibcha or Muysccubun, once spoken by the people who lived on the "Altiplano Cundiboyacense of which the city of "Bogotá was the southern capital at the time of the "European invasion. However, genetic and linguistic data now indicate that the original heart of Chibchan languages and Chibchan-speaking peoples may not have been in Colombia at all, but in the area of the "Costa Rica-"Panama border, where one finds the greatest variety of Chibchan languages.



The extinct languages of "Antioquia, "Old Catío and "Nutabe, have been shown to be Chibchan (Adelaar & Muysken, 2004:49). The language of the "Tairona is unattested, but may well be one of the Arwako languages still spoken in the Santa Marta range. The "Zenú AKA Sinú language of northern Colombia is also sometimes included, as are the "Malibu languages, though without any factual basis.

Constenla argues that "Cueva, the extinct dominant language of Pre-Columbian Panama long assumed to be Chibchan based on a misinterpreted Kuna vocabulary, was actually "Chocoan, but there is little evidence.

The "Cofán language (Kofán, Kofane, A'i) of Ecuador and Colombia has been erroneously included in Chibchan due to borrowed vocabulary.

External relations[edit]

The most significant neighboring linguistic groups, with which there are important relationships, are the "Misumalpan languages (to the north) and the "Choco languages (to the south). A larger family called "Macro-Chibchan, which would contain the "Misumalpan languages, "Xinca, and "Lenca, was found convincing by Kaufman (1990). "Dennis Holt (1986) claimed evidence for possible distant relationships with the "Uto-Aztecan and "Pano–Takanan language-families.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chibchan". "Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


External links[edit]

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