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Title: Jaqaru  
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Subject: Aymaran languages, Languages of Peru, Yauyos Province
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"Kawki" redirects here. For other uses, see Kawki (disambiguation).
Native to Peru
Ethnicity Jaqaru, Kawki
Native speakers 740  (2004)
Language family
  • Jaqaru
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jqr
Linguist List
Distribution of Jaqaru (orange)

Jaqaru (Haq'aru) is a language of the Aymara family.[1] It is also known as Jaqi and Aru. It is spoken in the districts of Tupe and Catahuasi in the province of Yauyos, within the Peruvian department of Lima. Most of the 2000 ethnic Jaqaru have migrated to Lima.

Kawki, a divergent dialect, is spoken in the nearby communities of Cachuy, Canchán, Caipán and Chavín by a few elderly individuals (9 surviving in early 2005). Hardman has noted that while Jaqaru and Kawki share a degree of mutual intelligibility, speakers of one were unable to understand tape recordings of the other, and in a few cases of marriage between Kawki and Jaqaru speakers, the home language was Spanish. (However, the home language of most Jaqaru and Kawki is now Spanish.) Historical analysis shows that the two languages were out of contact for a period.

There exist clear differences between Jaqaru and Kawki in regard to morphology. Jaqaru has ten verb persons, whereas Kawki has only nine (due to a case of homophony wherein Kawki maintained the semantic distinction between two different person markers, but lost the form distinction between the two). Additionally, regressive vowel harmony is present throughout the verb person system in Jaqaru, but does not appear in Kawki. Phonologically, Kawki is differentiated from Jaqaru in its vowel system. Jaqaru contains six vowels- three of regular length and three short, whereas Kawki has only the three regular-length vowels.


Syntax in Jaqaru consists mainly of a system of sentence suffixes. These suffixes indicate sentence type (interrogative, declarative, etc.) Suffixes can and often do occur more than one per sentence, marking sentence type and creating complex constructions. Simply put, for sentences to be grammatical in Jaqaru, they must be inflected. Morphological words and syntactic phrases which do not contain a sentence suffix are judged by native speakers to be ungrammatical and for some, impossible to say (Hardman, 2000).

Sentence suffixes

Sentence suffixes occur after all other morphological processes and can occur on any morphological words or syntactic phrases. The nature of sentence suffixes allows for freedom of word order and creativity in sentence construction, useful to storytellers (Hardman, 2000).

There are seven classes of sentence suffixes in Jaqaru, listed below:

Order classes of sentence suffixes (Hardman, 2000: 92)

  • I—Temporal: -kasa (completive) and -ra (continuative)
  • II—Aggregational: -rk"a (additive) and -sk"a (sequential)
  • III—Categorizer: -sa (information), -txi (negative; yes/no), -wa (PK—personal knowledge), -qa (attenuator; topic), and -psa (aggregational)
  • IV—KTL (knowledge through language): -mna ('it is said')
  • V—Surprisal: -ja (rhetorical)
  • VI—Emphatic: -illi ('really!")
  • VII—FinalDS: -ashi ('maybe') and -ishi ('remember')

These suffixes can occur in combination on words and most Class I suffixes rarely appear without another suffix on a morphological word. Classes II, III, and IV occur most frequently and are considered the core of syntactic inflection. It is possible for all sentence suffixes to occur in a sentence, but it does not happen. At most three or four sentence suffixes have been found in a text as of the year 2000. However, because many morphological suffixes can also be stacked, syntactic words frequently carry up to seven or eight suffixes (Hardman, 2000).


Unlike sentence word order, within phrases a fixed word order is either preferred or obligatory. Two main types of phrases occur in Jaqaru: noun phrases and verb phrases.

Noun Phrases. There are three types of noun phrases: modifier phrases, number phrases, and possessive phrases. Modifier phrases consist of a head noun preceded by a one or more modifier noun, which is marked by vowel dropping. Numbers in Jaqaru are on a base ten scale. Number phrases are carefully ordered to build larger numbers using multipliers of 10, 100, and 1000. The number phrase order is: number x multiplier + number. Neutral, unmarked possessive phrases follow a specific order: possessor + -na + possessed + one of the four personal possessive suffixes (Hardman, 2000). Verb Phrases. Verb phrases in Jaqaru are rare and never consist of more than two parts. There are four fixed order types: the careful phrase, the facultative phrase, the effort phrase, and the OV phrase (vowel-drop modifier + verb root). Verbs can additionally be modified by a quantifier modifier (Hardman, 2000).


There are three types of particles in Jaqaru: negatives, greetings, and a few special ones. Three particles are used for negation: imperative negative, principle negative, and subordinate negative. Four greetings are used in Jaqaru for addressing people, which mark the sex of the speaker and the addressee and do not carry any suffixes of any kind. Four special particles take no suffixes and comprise utterances in and of themselves: Jira (“Let’s go”), Jalli (“I don’t know, could be.”), Wala (“Go on, get going, bye.”), and Chiku (“I’m going, I’m off, bye.”) (Hardman, 2000: 115).


Jaqaru morphology is extremely complex. Most of the grammatical information in Jaqaru is carried in the morphology. The basic person system consists of four persons. In the verb system, these four persons are expanded into a conjugation of ten grammatical person markers, each marking both subject and object in a single suffix. Also characteristic of the Jaqaru morphology (and all of the Jaqi languages) is the use of extensive vowel dropping for grammatical marking. The rules constraining vowel dropping are extensive, and can be conditioned by such things as morpheme identity, morpheme sequence, syntactic requirements, some phonological requirements and suffix requirements. (Hardman, 2000).

The primary form classes are root and suffix. Root classes are verb, noun, and particle; suffix classes are nominal, verbal, thematic, and sentence.

Data-source marking is reflected in every sentence of the language. The three major grammatical categories of data source are:

1. personal knowledge (PK)--typically referring to sight

2. knowledge-through-language (KTW)--referring to all that is learned by hearing others speak and by reading

3. non-personal-knowledge (NPK)--used for all myths, histories from longer ago than any living memory, stories, and non-involvement of the speaker in the current situation (Hardman, 2000)

Nominal morphology

Nominal morphology involves suffixes, with two kinds of nominal suffixes: possession and modification. Noun suffixes consist of two types. One set involves the interplay of nouns with the rest of the sentence (there are 10 of these suffixes: 4 possessives, 5 directionals, and 1 object marker). All other nominal suffixes function to create complex nouns (Hardman, 2000).

Nominal morphology is based on a four-person paradigm which marks the relationship of the second person to the utterance. Therefore, the first person excludes the addressee. Second person excludes the speaker. Third person excludes both the speaker and the addressee, and is used for unmarked or null instances. Fourth person marks the inclusion of both the speaker and the addressee (Hardman, 2000).

Verbal morphology

Verbal morphology in Jaqaru is extremely complex, in both inflections and derivations. A great deal of the grammatical work of the language is done within the verbal morphological system. The standard paradigm is of ten persons, which define the relationships between the four basic persons (Hardman, 2000).

List of Verbal persons (Hardman, 2000: 56)

  • 2>2p: none
  • 2>1p: -uta, -utumata, and -utusama
  • 2>4p: -ushta, -ushtumata, and -ushtusama
  • 2>3p: -ta, -mata, and -sama

  • 1>2p: -imi, -mama and -shtama
  • 1>1p: none
  • 1>4p: none
  • 1>3p: -t"a, -nha, and -sa

  • 4>2p: none
  • 4>1p: none
  • 4>4p: none
  • 4>3p: -tana, -tana, and -sana

  • 3>2p: -tama, -matama, and -masama
  • 3>1p: -utu, -utuni, and -utusp"a
  • 3>4p: -ushtu, -ushtuni, and -ushtusp"a
  • 3>3p: -i, -ni, and -sp"a

In Jaqaru (and all Jaqi languages) the tie between object and subject is one of union; they are not separable morphologically and conjugation requires simultaneous specification of both as a unit. Verbs are conjugated in two sets: one for principal clauses with ten tenses and one for subordinate clauses with twelve tenses. Verbs ordinarily consist of a minimum of three morphemes. However, typical verbs consist of many more (Hardman, 2000).

Linguistic postulates

All of the Jaqi languages have two linguistic postulates in common: data-source marking and the human vs. non-human distinction. In Jaqaru, data-source marking is so extensive that it is necessary to most any sentence uttered. Any speaker, in uttering any sentence, must accurately indicate where the knowledge comes from. The three primary categories of data-source marking are: (1) personal knowledge—knowledge acquired by personal experience, (2) knowledge-through language—includes all knowledge gained through the medium of language, and (3) nonpersonal knowledge—appropriate for all situations where witnesses cannot be expected (see Jaqaru Morphology for more explanation).

Data-source marking is done primarily through sentence suffixes and verb tenses. Data-source is applied with equal universality to all morphological structures. Culturally, data-source comes out in the Jaqi people’s tendencies to ask children “What did you say?”, where their accuracy is expected.

Language is considered the distinguishing characteristic of humanness, and plays a large part in the human/non-human linguistic postulate. The cultural norms among the speakers of Jaqaru stress equality among women and men, and community and cooperation over competition and hierarchical structures. The language lacks any structures that denigrate women, rather the grammatical structures affirm humanness. Jaqaru’s value of humans and people in general comes out in its pronouns—one set for human beings, and a separate set for all others, including animals (Hardman-de-Bautista, 1978; Hardman, 1983; Hardman, 2000).

Its ISO 639-3 code is jqr.

See also



  • Hardman, Martha James 1978. "Jaqi: The Linguistic Family". The International Journal of American Linguistics. Volume 44. pp. 146–153.
  • Hardman-de-Bautista, Martha James 1978. "Linguistic Postulates and Applied Anthropological Linguistics". In V. Honsa and M. J. Hardman-de-Bautista (eds) Papers on Linguistics and Child Language. New York: Mouton Publishers.
  • Hardman, Martha James 1983. "'And if We Lose Our Name, Then What About Our Land', or What Price Development?" Evaluating Gender Relations Volume 35, number 3. pp. 151–161.
  • Hardman, Martha James 2000. Jaqaru. Germany: Lincom Europa.

External links

  • Dr. M.J. Hardman's website, with links to listen to all of the Jaqi languages, glossed texts, Aymara materials on the internet, and much more.
  • University of Florida Digital Collections
  • Aymara language.
  • Jaqmashi Association a small NGO set up to support the Jaqaru people, culture and language.
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