Native toDominican Republic
RegionSamaná Peninsula
Extinct16th century
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Precolombian languages of the Antilles.
Ciboney Taíno, Classic Taíno, and Iñeri were Arawakan, Karina and Yao were Cariban. Guanahatabey, Macorix, and Ciguayo are unclassified.

Ciguayo (Siwayo) was the language of the Samaná Peninsula of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic) at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The Ciguayos appear to have predated the agricultural Taino who inhabited much of the island. The language appears to have been moribund at the time of Spanish contact, and within a century it was extinct.[1][2]

Ciguayo was spoken on the northeastern coast of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Magua from Nagua southward to at least the Yuna River, and throughout all of the Samana Peninsula.[3]


Little is known of Ciguayo apart from it being a distinct language from Taino and neighboring Macorix. The only attested words are "gold", tuob (presumably [tuˈob] or [ˈtwob]) and a few place names such as Quizquella (presumably [kisˈkeja]), meaning "very mountainous." This makes it unlikely that the language is Arawakan or Cariban,[or Warao?] as languages of those families have simple V and CV syllable structures even in loanwords that were originally CCV or CVC. Granberry & Vescelius (2004) speculate that the closest parallels might be in the Tolan languages of Honduras.[3]

Granberry & Vescelius (2004) analyze the morphemes of tuob 'gold' and Quizquella 'very mountainous' as:

to-w-b(e) 'gold'
kʰis-kʰe-ya 'very mountainous'

See also


  1. ^ Granberry, Julian (2012). "Lenguas indígenas del caribe" (PDF). Cuba Arqueológica. 5 (1): 5–11.
  2. ^ Guitar, Lynne (2005). "Following Linguistic Trails across Half a Millennium Provides New Answers to Old Questions". H-LatAm (H-Net).
  3. ^ a b Granberry, Julian, & Gary Vescelius (2004). Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5123-X.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)