Cha'palaa language

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Native speakers
10,000 (2013)[1]
  • Southern?
    • Cha'palaa
Language codes
ISO 639-3cbi

Cha'palaa (also known as Chachi or Cayapa) is a Barbacoan language spoken in northern Ecuador by ca. 3000 ethnic Chachi people.

"Cha'palaa" means "language of the Chachi people." This language was described in part by the missionary P. Alberto Vittadello, who, by the time his description was published in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1988, had lived for seven years among the tribe.

Cha'palaa has agglutinative morphology, with a Subject-Object-Verb word order.

Cha'palaa is written using the Latin alphabet, making use of the following graphemes:

A, B, C, CH, D, DY, E, F, G, GU, HU, I, J, L, LL, M, N, Ñ, P, QU, R, S, SH, T, TS, TY, U, V, Y, and '

The writing system includes four simple vowels, and four double vowels:


Cha'palaa has four vowels: /a, e, i, u/.[1] Cha'palaa has 22 consonant phonemes.[3]

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain palatalized
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g
Fricative f s ʃ χ
Affricate t͡s t͡ʃ
Nasal m n ɲ
Approximant plain j w
lateral ʎ
Flap ɾ


  1. ^ a b Floyd, Simeon (9 June 2015). "Other-initiated repair in Cha'palaa" (PDF). DeGruyter. Open Linguistics.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Cha'palaa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Floyd, Simeon. "Four Types of Reduplication in the Cha'palaa Language of Ecuador" (PDF). Voort-Goodwin.