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Palta language

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Title: Palta language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Indigenous languages of the Americas, Jivaroan languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Palta language

Native to Ecuador
Region Amazonia
Ethnicity Palta people
Extinct (colonial era)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Linguist list
Glottolog None

The extinct Palta language of the Ecuadorian Amazon is attested by only a few words: yumé 'water', xeme 'maize', capal 'fire', let 'wood' (Jiménez de la Espada, 1586), and some toponyms. Based on this, Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño (1936) classified it as a Jivaroan language. Kaufman (1994) states that there is "little resemblance", but Adelaar (2004) finds the connection reasonable. In addition to these four words are toponyms, which commonly end in -anga, -numa, -namá. The latter two suggest the Jivaroan locative case suffix -num ~ -nam, though Torero (1993) notes that the last resembles Aguaruna (Jivaroan) namák(a) 'river' as well.


  • Jiménez de la Espada, Marcos, ed. (1965 [1586]): Relaciones geográficas de Indias: Perú, 3 vols. Biblioteca de Autores Españoles 183–5. Madrid: Atlas.
  • Jijón y Caamaño, Jacinto (1936–8): Sebastián de Benalcázar, vol. 1 (1936) Quito: Imprenta del Clero; vol. 2 (1938) Quito: Editorial Ecuatoriana.
  • Jijón y Caamaño, Jacinto (1940–5): El Ecuador interandino y occidental antes de la conquista castellana, vol. 1 (1940), vol. 2 (1941), vol. 3 (1943), vol. 4 (1945). Quito: Editorial Ecuatoriana (1998 edition, Quito: Abya-Yala).
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