Uru language

The Uru language, more specifically known as Iru-Itu, and Uchumataqu, is an extinct language formerly spoken by the Uru people. In 2004, it had 2 remaining native speakers out of an ethnic group of 140 people in the La Paz Department, Bolivia near Lake Titicaca, the rest having shifted to Aymara and Spanish. The language is close enough to the Chipaya language to sometimes be considered a dialect of that language.[citation needed]

Iru Itu
Native toBolivia
RegionLake Titicaca, near the Desaguadero River
Ethnicity230 Uru people (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ure

Uru is also called Ochosuma (Uchuzuma), a historical name for the Uru ethnic group.[2]

Olson (1964) mentions a variety of Uru, Uru of Ch'imu, spoken on the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca. It is not clear if this was a dialect of Iru Itu or a separate Uru language.

Identifying UchumataquEdit

Since one of the Urus' names for their language was "Pukina", Uchumataqu has previously been mistakenly identified with Puquina.[3] While the personal and possessive pronouns of the unrelated Puquina bear limited similarities to those of Arawakan languages,[4] Uru differs drastically from Arawakan languages in its person-marking system and its morphology.[3] The pronoun system of Uchumataqu is naturally very similar instead to its close relative Chipaya.[5] Uchumataqu has also borrowed grammatical and lexical morphemes from prolonged exposure to Aymara,[3] with which it is not related, however. Unlike Aymara, Uru is not polysynthetic and has a phonemic five-vowel system /a e i o u/, while Aymara has a three-vowel system /a i u/.[3] One contrast between Uru and the related Chipaya is that Uru does not identify gender morphologically as Chipaya does.[5]


  1. ^ a b Uru at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Campbell, Lyle (2012). "Classification of the indigenous languages of South America". In Grondona, Verónica; Campbell, Lyle (eds.). The Indigenous Languages of South America. The World of Linguistics. 2. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 59–166. ISBN 978-3-11-025513-3.
  3. ^ a b c d Danielsen, Swintha (2010). "Review of "Uchumataqu: The Lost Language of the Urus of Bolivia. A Description of the Language as Documented between 1894 and 1952. Indigenous Languages of Latin America"". Anthropological Linguistics. 52: 107–111. JSTOR 40929741.
  4. ^ Adelaar, Willem F. H. (2004). The Language of the Andes. Cambridge, GB: Cambridge Language Surveys. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-511-21050-1 – via Ebrary.
  5. ^ a b Pena, Jaime (2009). "Uchumataqu: The Lost Language of the Urus of Bolivia. A Grammatical Description of the Language as Documented between 1894 and 1952". Studies in Language. 33: 1012–1018. doi:10.1075/sl.33.4.10pen.