Chipaya belongs to the Uru-Chipaya language family and is spoken on the Altiplano plateau, mostly in areas around lake Coipasa (Bolivia). The only Chipayas who have retained their language are the Chipaya living north of the lake Coipasa. Contrary to other Chipaya groups, who only maintain vocabulary items, they speak the language fluently and use it in everyday communication. This makes Chipaya a small (around 1,800 speakers) but relatively vital language.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Watch a short reportage about the effects of global warming on the natural environment of Chipayas:
There are several members of the Chipaya community interviewed in the short film. Can you identify the person speaking Chipaya in the interview?
To view more Chipaya resources and information about this interesting language, visit the website of the DoBeS Chipaya Documentation Project.
Chipaya is considered an agglutinating language. To find out what this means and to learn much more about interesting linguistic structures, go to Chapter 3 of the Book of Knowledge.
Isabel Chino Condori works on a traditional Chipaya poncho. Photo made by James Morgan: www.jamesmorgan.co.uk/photo/chipaya-altiplano