Shiwiar language

Native to Peru, Ecuador
Ethnicity Achuar people, Shiwiar
Native speakers
(undated figure of 3,000–3,500 in Peru)[1]
4,000 in Ecuador (2007)[2]
  • Achuar
Language codes
ISO 639-3 acu
Glottolog achu1248[3]

Shiwiar, also known as Achuar, Jivaro, Maina, is a Jivaroan language spoken along the Pastaza and Bobonaza rivers in Ecuador.


Consonant phonemes[4]
Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop p t k ʔ
Affricate ts
Fricative s ʃ x
Approximant j w
Tap ɾ
Vowel phonemes[4]
Front Central Back
Close i ĩ u ũ
Close-mid ɘ ɘ̃ ɘː[5]
Open a ã
  • /i/ and /u/ have slightly lowered allophones [ɪ] and [ʊ], respectively.[6]
  • /a, ã, aː/ are phonetically central [, ã̠, a̠ː].[6]
    • /a, ã/ (but not the long /aː/) have the following allophones: open central unrounded [, ã̠], open-mid front unrounded [ɛ, ɛ̃], close-mid front unrounded [e, ] and close-mid back rounded [o, õ].[6]


  1. Achuar at Ethnologue (10th ed., 1984). Note: Data may come from the 9th edition (1978).
  2. Achuar-Shiwiar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Achuar-Shiwiar". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. 1 2 Fast Mowitz (1975), p. 10.
  5. Lev, Stark & Chang (2012), citing the same source, give these instead as [ɨ], [ɨ̃ ]] and [ɨː].
  6. 1 2 3 Fast Mowitz (1975), p. 2.


  • Fast Mowitz, Gerhard (1975), Sistema fonológico del idioma achual, Lima: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano 
  • Lev, Michael; Stark, Tammy; Chang, Will (2012). "Phonological inventory of Achuar-Shiwiar". The South American Phonological Inventory Database (version 1.1.3 ed.). Berkeley: University of California: Survey of California and Other Indian Languages Digital Resource. 

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