Uwa language

  (Redirected from Uw Cuwa)

The Uwa language, Uw Cuwa, commonly known as Tunebo, is a Chibchan language spoken by between 1,800 and 3,600 of the Uwa people of Colombia, out of a total population of about 7,000.[2]

Uw Cuwa
Native toColombia, formerly in Venezuela
Regionthe largest groups live on the northern slopes of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Boyacá Department
Native speakers
3,550 (2000)[1]
  • Chibcha–Motilon
    • Chibcha–Tunebo
      • Uwa
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
tnd – Angosturas Tunebo/Bahiyakuwa
tbn – Barro Negro Tunebo (Eastern Tunebo/Yithkaya)
tuf – Central Tunebo (Cobaría/Kubaru'wa & Tegría/Tagrinuwa)
tnb – Western Tunebo (Aguas Blancas/Rikuwa)
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There are half a dozen known varieties. Communication between modern varieties can be difficult, so they are considered distinct languages.

Adelaar (2004) lists the living

Umaña (2012) lists Cobaría, Tegría, Agua Blanca, Barro Negro.[needs to be confirmed with footnote in original]

Berich lists the dialects Cobaría; Agua Blanca (= Uncasía, Tamarana, Sta Marta); Rinconada, Tegría, Bócota, & Báchira

Cassani lists Sínsiga, Tegría, Unkasía (= Margua), Pedraza, Manare, Dobokubí (= Motilón)

Osborn (1989) lists

  • Bethuwa (= Pedraza, extinct),
  • Rikuwa (Dukarúa, = Agua Blanca),
  • Tagrinuwa (Tegría),
  • Kubaruwa (Cobaría),
  • Kaibaká (= Bókota),
  • Yithkaya (= San Miguel / Barro Negro),
  • Bahiyakuwa (= Sínsiga),
  • Biribirá,
  • and Ruba,

the latter all extinct

Fabre (2005) lists:

  • Bontoca (perhaps the same as the Bókota = Kaibaká cited in Osborn), of the mountains of Guican
  • Cobaría, along the Cobaría River
  • Pedraza or Bethuwa [= Angosturas?], along the Venezuelan border; extinct
  • Sínsiga, in the Guican mountains, recorded from Chita, Boyaca in 1871
  • Tegría or Tagrinuwa, along the Cobaría River
  • Unkasia, along the Chitiga and Marga rivers (Telban 1988)

Additional names in Loukotka are Manare and Uncasica (presumably a spelling variant of Unkasía/Uncacía), as well as Morcote, of which nothing is known. Manare, at the source of the Casanare, is Eastern Tunebo.



Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Voiceless stop t k ʔ
Voiced Stop b
Fricative s ʃ h
Nasal m n
Vibrant r
Oral semi-vowel w j
Nasal semi-vowel



  • Adelaar, Willem F. H.; Muysken, Pieter C. (2004). The Languages of the Andes. Cambridge University Press.
  • Alain Fabre 2005. Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos.

External linksEdit