Huarijio language

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RegionMexico: Chihuahua, Sonora
EthnicityHuarijio people
Native speakers
2,136 (2010 census)[1]
  • Upriver
  • Downriver
Official status
Regulated bySecretaría de Educación Pública
Language codes
ISO 639-3var
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Huarijio (Huarijío in Spanish; also spelled Guarijío, Varihío, and Warihío) is a Uto-Aztecan language of the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in northwestern Mexico. It is spoken by around 5,000 Huarijio people, most of whom are monolinguals.


The language has two variants, known as Mountain Guarijio (guarijío de la sierra) and River Guarijio (guarijío del río). The mountain variant is chiefly spoken in the eastern portion of the municipality of Uruachi (with a small number of speakers in Moris to the north and Chínipas to the south) and around Arechuyvo, in the state of Chihuahua. The river variant is found to the southwest: most speakers inhabit the Río Mayo basin to the north of San Bernardo in the Sonoran municipality of Álamos.

Speakers of Mountain Guarijio self-identify as warihó and call River Guarijio speakers macurawe or makulái. River Guarijio speakers call themselves warihío and call Mountain speakers "tarahumaras". Contact between the two groups is scant and, although the linguistic differences between the two are slight, speakers report that mutual comprehension is difficult.


Guarijio is an agglutinative language, where words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morphemes strung together. The Guarijí language is notable typologically in that it shows an object–verb–subject sentence order, one of the rarest order found cross-linguistically.[3]


The consonant inventory includes:[4]

labial alveolar palatal velar glottal
plosive b, p t ɡ, k ʔ
affricate t͡ʃ
fricative s (ʃ) h
approximant w l, ɾ j
nasal m n

The vowel inventory includes: /a/, /i/, /e/, /o/, /u/.


Programming in Guarijio is carried by the CDI's radio station XEETCH, broadcasting from Etchojoa, Sonora.


  1. ^ INALI (2012) México: Lenguas indígenas nacionales
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Huarijio". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Dryer (2008) Order of Subject, Object and Verb
  4. ^ Wick R. Miller: Guarijío: Gramática, textos y Vocabulario, 1996, ISBN 968-36-4849-5

External links[edit]