Leco
Leko, Rik’a
Native toBolivia
RegionLa Paz Department (Bolivia): east of Lake Titicaca
Ethnicity2,800 (2001)[1]
Native speakers
20 (2001)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Bolivia
Language codes
ISO 639-3lec
Glottologleco1242
ELPLeco

Leco, also written as Leko, is a language isolate that, though long reported to be extinct, is spoken by 20–40 individuals in areas east of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. The Leco ethnic population was 13,527 in 2012.[4]

Classification

Although Leco is generally considered to be a language isolate, Kaufman (1994: 64) groups Leco together with the Sechura–Catacao languages as part of a proposed Macro-Lecoan family.[3] It has, also, been, suggested that Leco might be grouped with the extinct Puquina languages spoken in the south shore of Lake Titicaca.[5][6]

Language contact

Jolkesky (2016) notes that there are lexical similarities with the Kulle, Omurano, Taushiro, Urarina, Arawak, Cholon-Hibito, Jaqi, and Quechua language families due to contact.[7]

Background

History

Apart from some brief lists of vocabulary, the main document for which Leco is known is a Christian doctrine compiled by the missionary Andrés Herrero at the beginning of the 19th century. That doctrine was published in 1905 by Lafone Quevedo, who used it as a source to make a grammatical description of the language. That work was virtually the only available document about Leco, until the linguist Simon van de Kerke (1994) located some speakers of the language and compiled some additional facts which enlarged the analysis of Quevedo.

Use and description

In Grimes (1988), Leco is classified as a language isolate and is considered extinct. However, Montaño Aragón (1987) found some speakers of the language in the region of Atén and in Apolo, La Paz, in Franz Tamayo Province in the Bolivian department of La Paz, along Mapiri River in Larecaja Province (situated also in the department of La Paz).

Some speakers were relocated by van de Kerke (1994–97). These speakers, mostly men, were older than 50 years and had not habitually used the language since a long time before that. Van de Kerke relates that the speakers do not feel sufficiently secure to conduct a conversation spontaneously in Leco.

Linguistic description

Phonology

In regard to the phonology of Leco, one can point out the following (based on van de Kerke, 2009: 289–291).

Leco has six vowel phonemes: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/ and /è/. The opposition among the first five vowels is distinguished in the data, but the opposition between /e/ and /è/ is found only in a limited number of words, as for example pele 'balsa' and pèlè 'name of plant'.

Consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d
aspirated
ejective
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ʃ
ejective t͡ʃʼ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z
Approximant l j w
Flap ɾ

Lexicon and classes of words

In regard to the lexicon and the classes of words in Leco, one can mention the following (van de Kerke, 2009: 293–297):

Morphology

In regard to the morphological characteristics of Leco, one can point out the following (van de Kerke, 2009: 297–313).

(1)

seneng-ki

all-DAT

hu-ku-ate

3PL-dar-PAS.1

dulsi

candy

seneng-ki hu-ku-ate dulsi

all-DAT 3PL-dar-PAS.1 candy

‘To all I gave a candy.’

(2)

u

what

trabajo-ra

work-LOC

chera

we

abon-da-no-ne

find-FUT-NML-INT

lamka-sich-ne

work-INF-TOP

u trabajo-ra chera abon-da-no-ne lamka-sich-ne

what work-LOC we find-FUT-NML-INT work-INF-TOP

‘In what work are we going to find work (in the town)?’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(3)

lilwo

grasshopper

ubus-no-te

come out-NML-DCL

lal-rep/lal wara-rep

earth-ABL/earth interior-ABL

lilwo ubus-no-te {lal-rep/lal wara-rep}

grasshopper {come out-NML-DCL} {earth-ABL/earth interior-ABL}

‘The grasshopper comes out from the earth / from within the earth.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(4)

wesra

Guanay

nos-tha-te

far-DIM-DCL

wesra nos-tha-te

Guanay far-DIM-DCL

‘Guanay is a little far.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(5)

yo-phos-beka

1SG-daughter-DEL

ho-ra

this-LOC

t’e-no-te

live-NML-DCL

yo-phos-beka ho-ra t’e-no-te

1SG-daughter-DEL this-LOC live-NML-DCL

‘My daughter no longer lives here.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(6)

lamka-sich

work-INF

yu-gustas-in-te

1.O-please-NEG-DCL

lamka-sich yu-gustas-in-te

work-INF 1.O-please-NEG-DCL

‘Working does not please me.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(7)

ya-ache-ki

1SG-father-GEN

yo-moki

1SG-GEN

aycha

meat

yin-k’o-a-ka-te

1.BEN-eat-PF-AUX-DCL

ya-ache-ki yo-moki aycha yin-k’o-a-ka-te

1SG-father-GEN 1SG-GEN meat 1.BEN-eat-PF-AUX-DCL

‘My father has eaten the meat for me.’ (I was not able to eat any more) Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Figure 2: Inflection of the verb
Verbal root PROG NEG NML/N/ADJ PL CID AUX PAS DCL/INT Person
-o
Adj/N -t -m/-n
-aya -mono -ka -taah
V -cha -in -no -ne -am/-an
-ir -a -no(h)
-ich -s
(8)

era

I

fuerza-hote-to:

strength-POS-PRS.1

ya-ache-ki-ka

1SG-father-GEN-COMP

mo-no-mono-taah-te

say-NML-CID-PAS-DCL

era fuerza-hote-to: ya-ache-ki-ka mo-no-mono-taah-te

I strength-POS-PRS.1 1SG-father-GEN-COMP say-NML-CID-PAS-DCL

‘It is said that he said "I have strength like my father".’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(9)

chika

very

es-cha-no-te

rain-PRS-NML-DCL

lamkas-in-kama-te-am

work-NEG-work-DCL-PL.1

chika es-cha-no-te lamkas-in-kama-te-am

very rain-PRS-NML-DCL work-NEG-work-DCL-PL.1

‘It is raining heavily; we can not work.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(10a)

iya

you (singular)

ta

maize

bal-a

plant-IMP

iya ta bal-a

{you (singular)} maize plant-IMP

‘Plant maize (corn)!’

(10b)

heka

you (singular)

ta

maize

bal-noku

plant-IMP.PL

heka ta bal-noku

{you (singular)} maize plant-IMP.PL

‘(You [plural]) plant maize (corn)!’

(11)

yo-moki

1-GEN

warsuch

trousers

tiltil-hi-no-te

undone-CMPL-NML-DCL

yo-moki warsuch tiltil-hi-no-te

1-GEN trousers undone-CMPL-NML-DCL

‘My trousers have been completely broken.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(12)

wotha

hill

wonon-wari-no-te

caminar-subir.por.tierra-NML-DCL

wotha wonon-wari-no-te

hill caminar-subir.por.tierra-NML-DCL

‘He/she is walking up the hill.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(13)

yobas-aya

man-PL

yanapas-mo-no-aya-te

help-REC-NML-PL-DCL

dihwo

peanut

bal-ich-ki

plant-INF-DAT

yobas-aya yanapas-mo-no-aya-te dihwo bal-ich-ki

man-PL help-REC-NML-PL-DCL peanut plant-INF-DAT

‘The men are helping each other to plant peanuts.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(14)

o-botha-tha-ki

2-brother-DIM-DAT

do-ko-ki-a

3.O-take-CAUS-IMP

o-botha-tha-ki do-ko-ki-a

2-brother-DIM-DAT 3.O-take-CAUS-IMP

‘Make him take your (singular) little brother!’

In Leco, one sees productive processes of reduplication. With substantives, reduplication can be interpreted as 'a heap/much of', with adjectives, 'a high degree of'; with verbs the interpretation is very diverse and not always transparent; thus we have the reduplicate verb tiltilkach 'to be undone', derived from tiltil 'undone', which expresses a state or process, for which reason it is combined also with the auxiliary kach 'to be'.

Speech

In regard to the characteristics of spoken Leco, one can point out the following:

(15)

hino

this

yobas-ne

man-TOP

palanta

platano

soh-cha-no-te

look at-PR-NML-DCL

moki-a

GEN-3

choswai-ki

wife-DAT

hino yobas-ne palanta soh-cha-no-te moki-a choswai-ki

this man-TOP platano {look at-PR-NML-DCL} GEN-3 wife-DAT

‘This man is searching for platano for his wife (of another).’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(16)

chera

we

du-kama-tean

speak-can-1PL

Burua

Leko

da-in-tean

want-NEG-1PL

du-ch

speak-INF

chera du-kama-tean Burua da-in-tean du-ch

we speak-can-1PL Leko want-NEG-1PL speak-INF

'We can speak Leco, but we do not want to speak it.

(17)

aycha

meat

ne-no-te

exist-NML-DCL

aycha ne-no-te

meat exist-NML-DCL

‘There is meat!’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(18)

wesra

Guanay

nos

far

na-in-tha-te

be-NEG-DIM-DCL

wesra nos na-in-tha-te

Guanay far be-NEG-DIM-DCL

‘Guanay is very near.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(19a)

sok’och

food

da-no-ne

want-NML-INT

iya-n

you.SG-INT

sok’och da-no-ne iya-n

food want-NML-INT you.SG-INT

‘Do you (singular) want to eat?’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(19b)

ha-ne

who-INT

busa-cha-no-n

arrive-PRS-NML-INT

ha-ne busa-cha-no-n

who-INT arrive-PRS-NML-INT

‘Who is arriving?’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(20)

on

that

chelas-no

become sick-NML

yobas-ne

man-TOP

k’o-in-te

eat-NML-DCL

wet-ra-no-te

die-FUT-DCL

on chelas-no yobas-ne k’o-in-te wet-ra-no-te

that {become sick-NML} man-TOP eat-NML-DCL die-FUT-DCL

‘That sick man is not eating; he is going to die.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(21)

on

that

chelas-no

become sick-NML

k’o-in-te

eat-NML-DCL

no

not

ko-in-te

drink-NML-DCL

wet-ra-no-te

die-FUT-DCL

on chelas-no k’o-in-te no ko-in-te wet-ra-no-te

that {become sick-NML} eat-NML-DCL not drink-NML-DCL die-FUT-DCL

‘That sick man is neither eating nor drinking; he is going to die.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

(22)

ch’epe

ill

yin-soncho-a-ra

1.BEN-become sick-PF-LOC

katre-te

cot-LOC

bar-ka-cha-no-to:

lying-AUX-PRS-NML-PRS.1

ch’epe yin-soncho-a-ra katre-te bar-ka-cha-no-to:

ill {1.BEN-become sick-PF-LOC} cot-LOC lying-AUX-PRS-NML-PRS.1

‘Because I feel ill I am lying on a cot.’ Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Vocabulary

Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items for Leco.[8]

gloss Leco
one ver
two foi
three chishai
head barua
eye bisiri
hand bu-eú
woman chusna
water dua
sun heno
maize ta

References

  1. ^ a b Leco at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "The Puquina and Leko languages - Advances in Native South American Historical Linguistics".
  3. ^ a b Kaufman, Terrence. 1994. The native languages of South America. In: Christopher Moseley and R. E. Asher (eds.), Atlas of the World’s Languages, 59–93. London: Routledge.
  4. ^ "Censo de Población y Vivienda 2012 Bolivia Características de la Población". Instituto Nacional de Estadística, República de Bolivia. p. 29.
  5. ^ "The Puquina and Leko languages - Advances in Native South American Historical Linguistics".
  6. ^ Willem Adelaar; Simon van de Kerke. "The Puquina and Leko languages". Symposium: Advances in Native South American Historical Linguistics, July 17-18, 2006, at the 52nd International Congress of Americanists, Seville, Spain. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  7. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas (Ph.D. dissertation) (2 ed.). Brasília: University of Brasília.
  8. ^ Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.