|Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia|
|Linguistic classification||Macro-Chibchan ?|
The Chibchan languages (also Chibchan, Chibchano) make up a language family indigenous to the Isthmo-Colombian Area, which extends from eastern Honduras to northern Colombia and includes populations of these countries as well as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The name is derived from the name of an extinct language called Chibcha or Muysccubun, once spoken by the people who lived on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense of which the city of Bogotá was the southern capital at the time of the Spanish Conquista. However, genetic and linguistic data now indicate that the original heart of Chibchan languages and Chibchan-speaking peoples might not have been in Colombia, but in the area of the Costa Rica-Panama border, where the greatest variety of Chibchan languages has been identified.
A larger family called Macro-Chibchan, which would contain the Misumalpan languages, Xinca, and Lenca, was found convincing by Kaufman (1990).
Pache (2018) suggests a distant relationship with the Macro-Jê languages.
Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Andaki, Barbakoa, Choko, Duho, Paez, Sape, and Taruma language families due to contact.
The extinct languages of Antioquia, Old Catío and Nutabe have been shown to be Chibchan (Adelaar & Muysken, 2004:49). The language of the Tairona is unattested, apart from a single word, but may well be one of the Arwako languages still spoken in the Santa Marta range. The Zenú a.k.a. Sinú language of northern Colombia is also sometimes included, as are the Malibu languages, though without any factual basis.
Adolfo Constenla Umaña argues that Cueva, the extinct dominant language of Pre-Columbian Panama long assumed to be Chibchan based on a misinterpreted Kuna vocabulary, was actually Chocoan, but there is little evidence.
The Cofán language (Kofán, Kofane, A'i) of Ecuador and Colombia has been erroneously included in Chibchan due to borrowed vocabulary.
Internal classification by Jolkesky (2016):
(† = extinct)
Below is a full list of Chibchan language varieties listed by Loukotka (1968), including names of unattested varieties.
Chibchan language varieties listed by Loukotka (1968)
Pache (2018) is the most recent reconstruction of Proto-Chibchan. Other reconstructions include Holt (1986).
Proto-Chibchan reconstructions by Constenla (1981):
Proto-Chibchan reconstructions by Constenla (1981)
Proto-Chibchan horticultural vocabulary (Constenla 2012):
Proto-Chibchan reconstructions by Pache (2018):
Proto-Chibchan reconstructions by Pache (2018)