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Awa Pit

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Title: Awa Pit  
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Subject: Barbacoan languages
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Awa Pit

Awa Pit
Native to Colombia, Ecuador
Native speakers 13,000  (2008)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kwi
Linguist List

Awa or Awa pit, also known as Cuaiquer, is a Barbacoan language spoken by the Awa-Kwaiker people, who inhabit territory straddling northern Ecuador and southern Colombia (the language is sometimes also referred to as Coaiquer, Quaiquer, or Kwaiker in Colombia, and as Awapit in Ecuador).[1] Awa pit is classified by UNESCO as a severely endangered language.[2]

Speakers and characteristics

The Awa pit language has around 21 thousand speakers, mostly residing on the Colombian Pacific slopes of the Andes, with about a thousand in an adjacent area of Ecuador.[1] While most men also speak Spanish, the women and children are predominantly monolingual.[1] Literacy among Awa speakers is less than 1% in their native language and under 5% in the secondary Spanish language.[1]

The Awa pit language has a subject–object–verb structure and has adopted the Latin script.[1] Grammatically, Awa pit uses a characteristic conjunct/disjunct system of verb suffixes for person-marking which displays similarities with some Tibeto-Burman languages, such as the Newari language of Kathmandu.[3][4][5]


The Awa pit inventory is as follows:[6]

Consonant phonemes
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
central lateral
Fricative unvoiced
Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back


External links

  • "Cuaiquer Indian Language (Awa Pit, Awa-Cuaiquer)" –
  • "Gramática pedagógica del Awapit" (A learner's grammar of Awapit) –  direct download link to Sasiku Project)
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