Movima Language
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Movima Language
Chosine? di' mowi:maj [1]
Native toBolivia
RegionBeni Department
Native speakers
ca. 1,400 (2006)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
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Movima is a language that is spoken by about 1,400 (nearly half) of the Movima, a group of Native Americans that resides in the Llanos de Moxos region of the Bolivian Amazon, in northeastern Bolivia. It is considered a language isolate, as it has not been proven to be related to any other language.


Movima is spoken in the locations of 18 de Noviembre, 20 de Enero, Bella Flor, Buen Día, Carmen de Iruyañez, Carnavales, Ipimo, Miraflores, Navidad, San Lorenzo, Santa Ana del Yacuma.[3]


Movima has five vowels:

The vowels of Movima
  Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

/e/ and /o/ more closely resemble [?] and [?], respectively, than the close-mid vowels [e] and [o]. Vowels have a phonemic length distinction, although some prosodic processes can lengthen otherwise short vowels. Movima does not have tone.[4]

The consonants of Movima
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral plain lab.
Nasal m n          
Stop pulmonic p t   t? k (?) k?  
implosive ? ?          
Fricative (f) ? s ?       h
Approximant     l j w   j?
Trill   r          

The plosive /p/ is realized as [p] in the syllable onset but as [p] (which contrasts with the simple nasal phoneme /m/) in the coda. Similarly, /t/ and /k/ are realized as [t] and [??] (i.e., as a glottal stop with a vocalic release), respectively, in the syllable coda.[1] In vowel-initial words and between adjacent vowels, an epenthetic glottal stop appears.

The phonemes /f/ and /?/ are only present in Spanish loanwords.


In Movima, compounding and incorporation are productive derivational processes. Reduplication and affixation, including some processes (such as the irrealis marker (k)a') that resemble infixation, are also common. Typical examples of inflection, such as number, case, tense, mood, and aspect, are not obligatorily marked in Movima.[1] Many derivational processes can be applied to a single Movima word. The same morpheme may appear multiple times in one word this way, for instance, tikoy-na-poj-na "I make X kill Y."


Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items.[5]

gloss Mobima
one sotaru
two oira
three taxra
tooth söichlan
tongue rulkua
hand chopa
woman kukya
water toni
moon yekcho
maize kuaxta
jaguar rulrul
house roya

See also

Further reading

  • Judy, R. A.; Judy, J. (1962). Movima y castellano. (Vocabularios Bolivianos, 1). Vocabularios Bolivianos. Cochabamba: Summer Institute of Linguistics.


  1. ^ a b c d Katharina Haude (2006). "A grammar of Movima" (PDF). Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Constitution of Bolivia, Article 5. I." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-21.
  3. ^ Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "Bolivia languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (22nd ed.). Dallas: SIL International.
  4. ^ "WALS - Movima". World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Loukotka, ?estmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.

External links

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