Foto: Joana A. Fernandes Silva

Chiquitano

  • Other names
    Chiquito
  • Where they are How many

    Bolivia108.206 (Censo Nacional, 2001)
    MT473 (Siasi/Funasa, 2012)
  • Linguistic family
    Chiquito

Language

In Bolivia, Chiquito is probably the fourth most widely spoken Indigenous tongue (after Quechua, Aymara and Chiriguano), with estimates varying from 40,000 to 60,000 speakers depending on the source. The Chiquito language is the result of a complex historical process in which speakers of various Indigenous tongues lived side by side in the Jesuit 'reducciones' between 1680 and 1787 (Albó,1991).

Several authors have studied the Chiquito linguistic family and in Bolivia there are several grammars for the language. Meétraux (1948), based on Hervás, affirms that Chiquito is divided into four dialects: Tao, Manasi, Peñoqui and Piñoco.

There are still no linguistic studies made among the Chiquitano that live on the Brazilian side of the border. However, from a sample of words that were compared with Chiquitano words in Bolivia, it is possible to say that the Chiquitano in Brazil speak the same language, possibly the Tao dialect. In Brazil this language is also known as língua, or linguará, or anenho.