Chibcha language

Chibcha language
Muisca, Muyskkubun
Spoken in Central highlands of Colombia
Ethnicity Muisca
Extinct 18th century
Language family
  • Chibcha–Motilon
    • Chibcha–Tunebo
      • Chibcha
Language codes
ISO 639-2 chb
ISO 639-3 chb

Chibcha, also known as Muisca or Mosca, is an extinct[1] Chibchan language of Colombia, formerly spoken by the Muisca people, a complex indigenous civilization of South America and the present-day Colombian region. Scholars believe the Chibcha language arose in South America and then migrated with people to nearby areas.[2] In 1770, King Charles III of Spain officially banned use of the language in the region as part of a de-indigenization project. The ban remained in law until Colombia passed its constitution of 1991.

Words of Muyskkubun origin are still used in the departments of Cundinamarca of which Bogotá is the capital, and Boyacá. These include curuba (a fruit), toche (a bird), guadua (a bamboo-like plant) and tatacoa (a snake). The Muisca descendants continue many traditional ways, such as the use of certain foods, use of coca for teas and healing rituals, and other aspects of natural ways, which are a deep part of culture here. Chibcha culture flourished in these areas since at least the 7th century BC.[2]

The only public school in Colombia currently teaching Muisca (to about 150 children) is in the town of Cota, about 20 miles by road from Bogotá. The school is named Jizcamox (healing with the hands) in Muisca.[2]

The Chibcha or Muisca called their language Muyskkubun. The Spanish called it Chibcha, derived from Chib (staff) and Cha (man), meaning the "Chief of the Community". Chibchacum, the god of agriculture, was punished by the god Bochica and had to hold the earth on his shoulders.


  1. ^ "Chibcha", Ethnologue, accessed 9 Nov 2010
  2. ^ a b c Gloria Helena Rey, "The Chibcha Culture – Forgotten, But Still Alive", Colombia, Inter Press Service (IPS) News, 30 Nov 2007, accessed 9 Nov 2010

Further reading (in Spanish, use Translate on Google)

These are available through the Virtual Library, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango Banco de la República, Colombia

External links

  • Muyskkubun Project, in Spanish, with Muyskkubun–Spanish dictionary
  • "Chibcha", Archives, sources in Spanish on the Chibcha language, Rosetta Project

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chibcha language (disambiguation) — Chibcha can relate to: Chibcha language: It is also known as Mhuysqubun (the language of the Muisca people) Chibchan languages: A language family with many other languages related from Central America to the north of South America Note Muisca… …   Wikipedia

  • Chibcha — [chib′chə] n. 1. pl. Chibchas or Chibcha a member of a South American Indian people that lived in central Colombia and had a highly developed civilization 2. the language of this people, no longer spoken …   English World dictionary

  • Chibcha — /chib cheuh/, n., pl. Chibchas, (esp. collectively) Chibcha for 1. 1. a member of a now extinct tribe of South American Indians, having an advanced culture, who lived on a high plateau of Bogotá, Colombia. 2. the extinct language of the Chibcha.… …   Universalium

  • chibcha — ˈchibchə noun (plural chibcha or chibchas) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: Spanish, of American Indian origin 1. a. : a people of central Colombia constituting one of the peoples of the Chibchan language family called also …   Useful english dictionary

  • Chibcha — noun (plural Chibcha or Chibchas) Etymology: Spanish Date: 1814 1. a member of an Indian people of central Colombia 2. the extinct language of the Chibcha people …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Chibcha — [ tʃɪbtʃə] noun (plural same or Chibchas) 1》 a member of a native people of Colombia whose ancient civilization was destroyed by Europeans. 2》 the extinct Chibchan language of the Chibcha. Origin Amer. Sp., from Chibcha zipa chief …   English new terms dictionary

  • Chibcha — n. member of a nonexistent American Indian people who inhabited the Andes Mountains in central Colombia n. dead language of the Chibcha people …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • Chibcha — ISO 639 3 Code : chb ISO 639 2/B Code : chb ISO 639 2/T Code : chb ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Extinct …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

  • Chibcha — Chib•cha [[t]ˈtʃɪb tʃə[/t]] n. pl. chas, (esp. collectively) cha. 1) peo a member of an American Indian people who lived in a group of small, autocratically ruled states in the E Colombian Andes at the time of the Spanish conquest 2) peo the… …   From formal English to slang

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