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

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

Due to one of the Uru's name for their language, "Pukina", some linguists have grouped Uru with the Arawaken languages or have accidentally mistaken Uchumataqu with Puquina.[3] While the personal and possessive pronouns of the older, unrelated Puquina are similar to those of Arawakan languages,[4] Uru differs drastically from Arawakan languages in its person-marking system and its morphology.[3] Uchumataqu is known for being related to Aymara and other Andean languages, with borrowed grammatical and lexical morphemes from a prolonged exposure to Aymara[3] and a very similar pronoun system to Chipaya.[5] However, Uru has many differentiating features like not being polysynthetic and having a five-vowel system /a e i o u/, while Aymara is polysynthetic and has a three-vowel system /a i u/.[3] Also, Uru does not identify gender morphologically as Chipaya does.[5]


  1. ^ a b Uru at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Uru". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  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 – via EBSCO.