Northern South and Central America (NSA)
Geographic location: Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana
Number of Languages: 126 (132 including Creoles)
Number of Genetic Units: 29 (34 including Creoles)
Genetic Index: .22 (excluding Creoles)
Mean Level of Endangerment: 3.31 (including Creoles)
Mean Documentation Status:
Threat Level: medium
map of NSA hotspot

Description:

The Northern South America Hotspot stretches along the northern coast of South America. Most of the population lives in coastal areas, but many of the indigenous languages are spoken in the rain forests of the interior. Indigenous groups here are more likely to come in contact with each other than with speakers of world languages, such as Spanish, so much of the language shift is from small languages to larger indigenous languages.

One language in this area is Sáliva, which is spoken mostly in the east of Colombia and by a few people in Venezuela. This language group was so isolated that the language was reported extinct in 1965. There were around 1,555 Sáliva speakers in 1993, so the report of extinction was quite premature. Sáliva speakers now are almost all bilingual in Spanish, and Sáliva children are only learning Spanish instead of their ancestral language. This is an example of how a language can be endangered even when there are a significant number of speakers. As the current generation of speakers ages, the number of speakers will drop very rapidly.

Genetic Units found in Hotspot (29):

  1. Arawakan
  2. Arutani-Sapé
  3. Camsá
  4. Cariban
  5. Chibchan
  6. Choco
  7. Coconucan
  8. Guahiban
  9. Lenca
  10. Maku
  11. Mayan
  12. Misumalpan
  13. Paez
  14. Puinave
  15. Pumé
  16. Romance
  17. Salivan
  18. Tinigua
  19. Tol
  20. Tucanoan
  21. Tupi-Guaraní
  22. Uto-Aztecan
  23. Warao
  24. Yanomam
  25. Yarí
  26. Unclassified (4: Amikoana, Iapama, Kohoroxitari, Yuwana)

Hotspots Formula:

List of Languages:

  1. Achagua
  2. Akawaio
  3. Akurio
  4. Amikoana
  5. Apalaí
  6. Arapaso
  7. Arawak
  8. Arhuaco [Ika]
  9. Arutani
  10. Atorada
  11. Atruahi
  12. Aukan
  13. Baniwa
  14. Barasana
  15. Barí
  16. Border Kuna
  17. Boruca
  18. Bribri
  19. Buglere
  20. Cabécar
  21. Cacua
  22. Camsá
  23. Carapana
  24. Carib
  25. Carútana
  26. Chaima
  27. Chimila
  28. Chorti, Honduran
  29. Cogui
  30. Cuiba
  31. Curripaco
  32. Curripaco
  33. Dâw
  34. Embera Northern
  35. Embera-Baudó
  36. Embera-Catío
  37. Embera-Chamí
  38. Embera-Tadó
  39. Emerillon
  40. Eñepa
  41. Epena
  42. Garifuna
  43. Guahibo
  44. Guambiano
  45. Guanano
  46. Guanano
  47. Guarequena
  48. Guayabero
  49. Hixkaryana
  50. Hupdë
  51. Iapama
  52. Ingariko
  53. Ipeka-Tapuia
  54. Japreria
  55. Karapanã
  56. Kaxuiana
  57. Kohoroxitari
  58. Kwinti
  59. Lenca
  60. Macaguan
  61. Maco
  62. Macuna
  63. Macushi
  64. Malayo
  65. Maleku Jaika
  66. Mandahuaca
  67. Mapidian
  68. Mapoyo
  69. Maquiritari
  70. Mawayana
  71. Miskito
  72. Ngäbere
  73. Nhengatu
  74. Ninam
  75. Nukak Maku
  76. Paez
  77. Palenquero
  78. Palikur
  79. Patamona
  80. Pech
  81. Pemon
  82. Piapoco
  83. Piaroa
  84. Pipil
  85. Piratapuyo
  86. Playero
  87. Pokangá
  88. Portuguese
  89. Puinave
  90. Pumé
  91. Rama
  92. Sáliba
  93. Saluma
  94. San Blas
  95. Sanuma
  96. Sapé
  97. Saramaccan
  98. Sikiana
  99. Siriano
  100. Spanish
  101. Sranan
  102. Sumo Tawahka
  103. Tatuyo
  104. Teribe
  105. Tinigua
  106. Tol
  107. Totoro
  108. Trio
  109. Tucano
  110. Tunebo Angosturas
  111. Tunebo Barro Negro
  112. Tunebo Central
  113. Tunebo Western
  114. Tuyuca
  115. Waimaha
  116. Waiwai
  117. Wapishana
  118. Warao
  119. Wayampi
  120. Wayana
  121. Wayuu
  122. Woun Meu
  123. Xiriana
  124. Yabarana
  125. Yanomami
  126. Yanomamö
  127. Yarí/Yurí
  128. Yuhup
  129. Yukpa
  130. Yurutí
  131. Yuwana

Endangered Languages include:

  • Cacua ( < 150 speakers, Maku, spoken in Colombia)
  • Carabayo ( 150 speakers, Unclassified, spoken in Colombia)
  • Palenquero ( < 500 speakers, Spanish-based Creole, spoken in Colombia)
  • Secoya ( < 300 speakers, Tucanoan, spoken in Ecuador and Peru)
  • Tinigua ( 2 speakers, Isolate, spoken in Colombia)
  • Totoro ( < 5 speakers, Barbacoan, spoken in Colombia)

Some Features of Languages in Hotspot include:

Trivia:

Media:

Taino chief

Nitaino Hereditary Taino Blood Chief Pedro Guanikeyu Torrese. From http://www.taino-tribe.org/

Locono chief

Brigitte Wyngaard, Customary Chief of the Lokono of Balaté village in Guyana. From http://rencontreweb.com/brigitteanglais.htm

Sources:

E-MELD. 2005. E-MELD School of Best Practice: About Sáliba.  Online at http://emeld.org/school/case/saliba/about.html

Morey, Robert V.  1972.  Notes on the Sáliva of Eastern Colombia.  Current Anthropology.  13:1, pp. 144-147.