Native toPeru
Ethnicity3,000 (2007)[1]
Native speakers
1,120 (2007)[1]
Macro-Arawakan ? Macro-Jivaroan ?
  • Candoshi-Shapra
  • Kandoashi
  • Chapara
Language codes
ISO 639-3cbu

Candoshi-Shapra (also known as Candoshi, Candoxi, Kandoshi, Kandozi-Chapra,[2] and Murato) is an indigenous American language isolate, spoken by several thousand people in western South America along the Chapuli, Huitoyacu, Pastaza, and Morona river valleys. There are two dialects, Chapara (also spelled Shapra) and Kandoashi (Kandozi). It is an official language of Peru, like other native languages in the areas in which they are spoken and are the predominant language in use. Around 88.5 percent of the speakers are bilingual with Spanish. The literacy rate in Candoshi-Shapra is 10 to 30 percent and 15 to 25 percent in the second language Spanish. There is a Candoshi-Shapra dictionary, and grammar rules have been codified.


Kandozi is spoken to the southeast of the main Chapra area. It is spoken along the Chapuli River (or Chapuri River) and sources of Rimachi Lake, the Huitoyacu River, and other tributaries of the Pastaza River. Chapra is spoken along the Pushaga River, as well as other tributaries of the Morona River.[2]: 615 


Candoshi is not closely related to any living language. It may be related to the extinct and poorly attested language Chirino. Four words of Chirino are mentioned in Relación de la tierra de Jaén (1586), and they resemble words in modern Candoshi. A somewhat longer list of words is given in the same document for Rabona, across the modern border in Ecuador and include some names of plants that resemble Candoshi, but such words can easily be borrowed.

Among modern languages, Loukotka (1968),[3] followed by Tovar (1984), connected Candoshi with Taushiro (Pinche). Kaufman (1994) tentatively proposed a Kandoshi–Omurano–Taushiro language family, with Candoshi the most distant of the trio. However, Kaufman (2007) placed Omurano and Taushiro but not Candoshi in Saparo–Yawan.

David Payne (1981) proposes that Candoshi is related to Jivaroan, which Payne calls Shuar. Together, Shuar and Candoshi make up a putative Shuar-Candoshi family, for which Payne (1981) provides a tentative reconstruction of Proto-Shuar-Candoshi.

Jolkesky (2016) classifies Candoshi-Shapra as a Macro-Arawakan language.[4]

Language contact

Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Hibito-Cholon, Jivaroan, Cahuapanan, Quechua, Kunza, Mochica, and Panoan language families due to contact.[5]

Further reading


  1. ^ a b Candoshi-Shapra at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Epps, Patience; Michael, Lev, eds. (2023). Amazonian Languages: Language Isolates. Volume I: Aikanã to Kandozi-Chapra. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-041940-5.
  3. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
  4. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho De Valhery. 2016. Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas. Doutorado em Linguística. Universidade de Brasília.
  5. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.

Further reading