Alacalufan languages

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Ethnicity Alacaluf people
Linguistic classification one of the world's primary language families
  • Kawesqar
  • Central Alacaluf †
  • Southern Alacaluf †
ISO 639-5 aqa
Glottolog kawe1237[1]

The Alacalufan languages or Kawesqaran languages are a small language family of South America. They have not been definitely linked to any other American language family.[2][3]


Early vocabularies show that Alakaluf was three languages, with an extinct Southern Alakaluf (vocabularies in Fitz-Roy 1839 and Hyades & Deniker 1891) and Central Alakaluf (vocabularies in Borgatello 1928, Marcel 1892, and Skottsberg 1913) in addition to the critically endangered northern variety, Kawésqar.[4]

Based on alleged toponymic evidence, a purported Kakauhua language has sometimes been included in the Alacalufan family.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kawesqar". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Campbell, L. (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Adelaar, W. F. H., & Muysken, P. C. (2004). The Languages of the Andes. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ Viegas Barros (1990, 2005), cited in Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices

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