Movima language

Movima language
Chosineɬ di' mowi:maj[1]
Spoken in Bolivia
Region Beni Department
Native speakers ca. 1400[1]
Language family
Official status
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mzp

Movima is a language that is spoken by about 1400 (nearly half) of the Movima, a group of Native Americans that resides in Bolivia. It is considered a language isolate, as it has not been proven related to any other language.



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 [ɛ] and [ɔ], 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.[3]

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

The plosive /p/ is realized as [p] in the syllable onset but as [pʔᵐ] (which contrasts with the simple nasal phoneme /m/) in the coda. Similarly, /t/ and /k/ are realized as [tʔⁿ] and ɤ] (i.e., as a glottal stop with a vocalic release), respectively, in the syllable coda.[4] In vowel-initial words and between adjacent vowels, an epinthetic glottal stop appears.

The phonemes /f/ and /ɡ/ 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.[5] 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."


  1. ^ a b Katharina Haude (2006). "A grammar of Movima". Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  2. ^ "Constitution of Bolivia, Article 5. I.". 
  3. ^ "WALS – Movima". World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^ Katharina Haude (2006). "A grammar of Movima". Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  5. ^ Katharina Haude (2006). "A grammar of Movima". Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 

External links

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