|Muisca or Muysca|
Chibchan languages. Chibcha itself was spoken in the southernmost area, in central Colombia
Chibcha, Mosca, Muisca, Muysca (*/ˈmɨska/), or Muysca de Bogotá, was a language spoken by the Muisca people of the Muisca Confederation, one of the many indigenous cultures of the Americas. The Muisca inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense of what today is the country of Colombia.
The name of the language Muysc Cubun in its own language means "language of the people", from muysca ("people") and cubun ("language" or "word"). Despite the disappearance of the language in the 17th century (approximately), several language revitalization processes are underway within the current Muisca communities. The Muisca people remain ethnically distinct and their communities are recognized by the Colombian state.
Important scholars who have contributed to the knowledge of the Chibcha language include Juan de Castellanos, Bernardo de Lugo, José Domingo Duquesne and Ezequiel Uricoechea.
In prehistorical times, in the Andean civilizations called preceramic, the population of northwestern South America migrated through the Darién Gap between the isthmus of Panama and Colombia. Other Chibchan languages are spoken in southern Central America and the Muisca and related indigenous groups took their language with them into the heart of Colombia where they comprised the Muisca Confederation, a cultural grouping.
Main article: Spanish conquest of the Muisca
See also: Spanish conquest of the Chibchan Nations
As early as 1580 the authorities in Charcas, Quito, and Santa Fe de Bogotá mandated the establishment of schools in native languages and required that priests study these languages before ordination. In 1606 the entire clergy was ordered to provide religious instruction in Chibcha. The Chibcha language declined in the 18th century.
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.
Modern Muisca scholars as Diego Gómez have claimed that the variety of languages was much larger than previously thought and that in fact there was a Chibcha dialect continuum that extended throughout the Cordillera Oriental from the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy to the Sumapaz Páramo. The quick colonization of the Spanish and the improvised use of traveling translators reduced the differences between the versions of Chibcha over time.
Since 2008 a Spanish–Muysc cubun dictionary containing more than 3000 words has been published online. The project was partly financed by the University of Bergen, Norway.
The muysccubun alphabet consists of around 20 letters. The Muisca didn't have an "L" in their language. The letters are pronounced more or less as follows:
a - as in Spanish "casa"; ka - "enclosure" or "fence"
e - as in "action"; izhe - "street"
i - open "i" as in "'inca" - sié - "water" or "river"
o - short "o" as in "box" - to - "dog"
u - "ou" as in "you" - uba - "face"
y - between "i" and "e"; "a" in action - ty - "singing"
b - as in "bed", or as in Spanish "haba"; - bohozhá - "with"
ch - "sh" as in "shine", but with the tongue pushed backwards - chuta - "son" or "daughter"
f - between a "b" and "w" using both lips without producing sound, a short whistle - foï - "mantle"
g - "gh" as in "good", or as in Spanish "abogado"; - gata - "fire"
h - as in "hello" - huïá - "inwards"
ï - "i-e" as in Beelzebub - ïe - "road" or "prayer"
k - "c" as in "cold" - kony - "wheel"
m - "m" as in "man" - mika - "three"
n - "n" as in "nice" - nyky - "brother" or "sister"
p - "p" as in "people" - paba - "father"
s - "s" as in "sorry" - sahawá - "husband"
t - "t" as in "text" - yta - "hand"
w - "w" as in "wow!" - we - "house"
zh - as in "chorizo", but with the tongue to the back - zhysky - "head"
The accentuation of the words is like in Spanish on the second-last syllable except when an accent is shown: Bacata is Ba-CA-ta and Bacatá is Ba-ca-TA.
In case of repetition of the same vowel, the word can be shortened: fuhuchá ~ fuchá - "woman".
In Chibcha, words are made of combinations where sometimes vowels are in front of the word. When this happens in front of another vowel, the vowel changes as follows:
a-uba becomes oba - "his (or her, its) face"
a-ita becomes eta - "his base"
a-yta becomes ata - "his hand" (note: ata also means "one")
Sometimes this combination is not performed and the words are written with the prefix plus the new vowel: a-ita would become eta but can be written as aeta, a-uba as aoba and a-yta as ayta
Main article: Muisca numerals
Counting 1 to 10 in Chibcha is ata, boza, mica, muyhyca, hyzca, taa, cuhupqua, suhuza, aca, hubchihica. The Muisca only had numbers one to ten and the 'perfect' number 20; gueta, used extensively in their complex lunisolar Muisca calendar. For numbers higher than 10 they used additions; quihicha ata ("ten plus one") for eleven. Higher numbers were multiplications of twenty; guehyzca would be "five times twenty"; 100.
The subjects in Chibcha do not have genders or plurals. to thus can mean "male dog", "male dogs", "female dog" or "female dogs". To solve this, the Muisca used the numbers and the word for "man", cha, and "woman", fuhuchá, to specify gender and plural:
|mue||/mue/||thou / you (singular) - informal and formal use|
|as(y)||/asɨ/ or /as/||he / she / it / they|
The possessive pronoun is placed before the word it refers to.
|zh(y)- / i-||my|
|a-||his / her / its / their|
The Muisca used two types of verbs, ending on -skua and -suka; bkyskua ("to do") and guitysuka ("to whip") which have different forms in their grammatical conjugations. bkyskua is shown below, for verbs ending on -suka, see here.
|ze bkyskua||I do or did|
|um bkyskua||you (singular) do or did|
|a bkyskua||he / she / it does or did|
|chi bkyskua||we do/did|
|mi bkyskua||you do/did|
|a bkyskua||they do/did|
|ze bky||I did or have done|
|um bky||you (singular) did or " "|
|a bky||he / she / it did or has done|
|chi bky||we did or have done|
|mi bky||you did or " "|
|a bky||they did or " "|
|ze bkynga||I shall do|
|um bkynga||you will do|
|a bkynga||he / she / it " "|
|chi bkynga||we shall do|
|mi bkynga||you will do|
|a bkynga||they " "|
|cha kyia||may I do|
|ma kyia||may you do|
|kyia||may he / she / it do|
|chi kyia||may we do|
|mi kyia||may you do|
|kyia||may they do|
This list is a selection from the online dictionary and is sortable. Note the different potatoes and types of maize and their meaning.
|ba||"finger" or "finger tip"|
|bhosioiomy||"potato [black inside]" (species unknown)|
|chihiza||"vein" (of blood) or "root"|
|chyscamuy||"maize [dark]" (species unknown)|
|chysquyco||"green" or "blue"|
|foaba||Phytolacca bogotensis, plant used as soap|
|funzaiomy||"potato [black]" (species unknown)|
|fusuamuy||"maize [not very coloured]" (species unknown)|
|gazaiomy||"potato [wide]" (species unknown)|
|guexica||"grandfather" and "grandmother"|
|guia||"bear" or "older brother/sister"|
|hichuamuy||"maize [of rice]" (species and meaning unknown)|
|iome||"potato" (Solanum tuberosum)|
|iomgy||"flower of potato plant"|
|iomza||"potato" (species unknown)|
|iomzaga||"potato [small]" (species unknown)|
|muyhyza||"flea" (Tunga penetrans)|
|nyia||"gold" or "money"|
|phochuba||"maize [soft and red]" (species and meaning unknown)|
|quye||"tree" or "leaf"|
|quyhysaiomy||"potato [floury]" (species unknown)|
|quyiomy||"potato [long]" (species unknown)|
|sasamuy||"maize [reddish]" (species unknown)|
|tyba||"hi!" (to a friend)|
|tybaiomy||"potato [yellow]" (species unknown)|
|xiua||"rain" or "lake"|
|usua||"white river clay"|
|uamuyhyca||"fish"; Eremophilus mutisii|
|xieiomy||"potato [white]" (species unknown)|
|zysquy||"head" or "skull"|
N. de Santander
N. de Santander
Words of Muysccubun origin are still used in the department of Cundinamarca of which Bogotá is the capital, and the department of Boyacá, with capital Tunja. These include curuba (Colombian fruit banana passionfruit), toche (yellow oriole), guadua (a large bamboo used in construction) and tatacoa ("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 respected part of culture in Colombia.
As the Muisca did not have words for imported technology or items in early colonial times, they borrowed them from Spanish, such as "shoe"; çapato, "sword"; espada, "knife"; cuchillo and other words.
The only public school in Colombia currently teaching Chibcha (to about 150 children) is in the town of Cota, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) by road from Bogotá. The school is named Jizcamox (healing with the hands) in Chibcha.
Main article: List of Muisca toponyms
Most of the original Muisca names of the villages, rivers and national parks and some of the provinces in the central highlands of the Colombian Andes are kept or slightly altered. Usually the names refer to farmfields (ta), the Moon goddess Chía, her husband Sué, names of caciques, the topography of the region, built enclosures (ca) and animals of the region.