RegionBaja California
Extinctbefore 1800
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
qjg Guaicura (Waikura, Waykuri)
 qea Waicuri (Waicuru)
 qny Cora (Huchití)
Glottologguai1237  Guaicurian
monq1236  Monqui
The location of Guaycura. Monqui and Pericú are essentially unattested; Cochimí, which is still spoken, is a Yuman language.

Waikuri (Guaycura, Waicura) is an extinct language of southern Baja California spoken by the Waikuri or Guaycura people. The Jesuit priest Baegert documented words, sentences and texts in the language between 1751 and 1768.

Waikuri may be, along with the Yukian and Chumashan languages and other languages of southern Baja such as Pericú, among the oldest languages established in California, before the arrival of speakers of Penutian, Uto-Aztecan, and perhaps even Hokan languages. All are spoken in areas with long-established populations of a distinct physical type.[1]


The ethnonym Waikuri and its variants likely originates from the Pericú word guaxoro 'friend'. Variations of the name include Waicuri, Waicuri, Guaicuri, Waicura, Guaycura, Guaicura, Waicuro, Guaicuro, Guaycuro, Vaicuro, Guaicuru, Guaycuru, Waikur.[2]: 187 


Baegert's data is analyzed by Raoul Zamponi (2004). On existing evidence, Guaycura appears to be unrelated to the Yuman languages to its north. Some linguists have suggested that it belonged to the widely scattered Hokan phylum of California and Mexico (Gursky 1966; Swadesh 1967); however, the evidence for this seems inconclusive (Laylander 1997; Zamponi 2004; Mixco 2006). William C. Massey (1949) suggested a connection with Pericú, but the latter is too meagerly attested to support a meaningful comparison. Other languages of southern Baja are essentially undocumented, though people have speculated from non-linguistic sources that Monqui (Monquí-Didiú), spoken in a small region around Loreto, may have been a 'Guaicurian' language, as perhaps was Huchití (Uchití), though that may have actually been a variety of Guaycura itself (Golla 2007).

The internal classification of Guaicurian (Waikurian) languages is uncertain. Massey (1949), cited in Campbell (1997:169), gives this tentative classification based on similarity judgments given by colonial-era sources, rather than actual linguistic data.

However, Laylander (1997) and Zamponi (2004) conclude that Waikuri and Pericú are unrelated.


Phonology of the Waikuri language:[3]


Consonants were voiceless stops p t c k and maybe glottal stop; voiced b d, nasal m n ny, flap r, trill rr, and approximants w y.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k (ʔ)
voiced b d
Affricate t͡ʃ
Nasal m n ɲ
Rhotic ɾ, r
Approximant w j


Waikuri had four vowels, /i, e, a, u/. Whether or not vowel length was phonemic is unknown.


The little we know of Guaycura grammar was provided by Francisco Pimentel, who analyzed a few verbs and phrases. Guaicura was a polysyllabic language that involved a lot of compounding. For example, 'sky' is tekerakadatemba, from tekaraka (arched) and datemba (earth).

Beagert and Pimentel agree that the plural is formed with a suffix -ma. However, Pimentel also notes a prefix k- with the 'same' function. For example, kanai 'women', from anai 'woman'. According to Pimentel, the negation in -ra of an adjective resulted in its opposite, so from ataka 'good' is derived atakara 'bad'.

Pronouns were as follows (Golla 2011):

Subject Object Inalienable
I be my be- ~ m- bekún
thou e’i thee e’i ? thy e- ekún
s/he ? his/her ti- ~ t-
we katé us kepe our kepe- kepekún
you peté ?
they ? their kikún


The Pater Noster is recorded in Guaycura, with a literal gloss by Pimentel (1874: cap. XXV).

Padre Nuestro
Kepe-dare tekerekadatemba daï, ei-ri akatuike pu-me, tschakarrake pu-me ti tschie.
Padre nuestro (que en el) cielo estás, te reconocemos todos (los que) existimos (y te) alaban todos (los que) somos hombres y.
Ecun gracia ri atume cate tekerekedatemba tschie. Ei-ri jebarrakeme ti
(Y por) tu gracia ? tengamos nosotros (el) cielo (y). Te obedeceremos (los) hombres
pu jaupe datemba pae ei jebarrakere aëna kea. Kepekun bue
todos aquí (en la) tierra como a ti obedientes arriba siendo. Nuestra comida
kepe ken jatupe untairi. Kate kuitscharrake tei tschie kepecun atakamara,
(a) nos da este día. (Y a) nos perdona (y) nuestro malo (pecado),
pae kuitscharrakere cate tschie cavape atukiara kepetujake. Cate tikakamba tei
como perdonamos nosotros también (a) los (que) mal (nos) hacen. (A) nos ayuda
tschie cuvume ra cate atukiara. Kepe kakunja pe atacara
y (no) querremos no nosotros algo malo. (Y a) nos protege de mal


Waikuri vocabulary from Zamponi (2004), which was compiled primarily from 18th-century sources by Johann Jakov Baegert,[4] as well as from Lamberto Hostell and Francisco de Ortega:[2]


English gloss Waikuri Notes
earth, land datembà; atembà
sky tekerekádatembà lit. ‘arched earth/land’
day untâiri, untáîri
week ambúja ‘place where one lives; house; church’
year; pitahaya ambía
mescal pui; kenjei, kennei
horse; mule titschénu-tschà ‘child of a wise mother’
k.o. snake matanamu ‘light red . . . [snake] with black spots’
k.o. eagle jatacrie lit. ‘deer-catcher’
man; person éte (pl. ti)
woman ánaï (pl. kánaï)
father -dáre, -áre (man speaking); -cue (woman speaking)
parent pera kari
son -tschánu, -tschénu
shaman taniti; tantipara
missionary tià-pa-tù ‘one who has his house in the north'
forehead -tapà ~ -apà
nose -inamù
arm; hand -kére
right arm -tschuketà
pain -enembeû
food búe
place where one lives; house; church ambúja
ceremonial wand tiyeicha lit. ‘he can talk’
dance floor amaeka
word -tanía
a song ambéra didì
a dance agénari
payment tenkíe


English gloss Waikuri Notes
I be (subject)
you (sg.) subject
we catè subject
you (pl.) petè subject
you (sg.); to you direct/indirect object
us; to us kepe direct/indirect object
mine becún, beticún also used adjectivally with alienably possessed nouns
yours (sg.) ecún, ecùn; eiticún also used adjectivally with alienably possessed nouns
ours kepecùn also used adjectivally with alienably possessed nouns
theirs kicùn also used adjectivally with alienably possessed nouns
this one tâupe
these ones cávape
that one tutâu
those ones tucáva
this same one tâuvérepe probably also used as a demonstrative determiner
who? aipe(e), ci pe
all, everything pu also quantifier; cf. 'all'
nothing vâra, buarà

Other parts of speech

English gloss Waikuri Notes
great apánne
good atacá (pl. atacámma), aata ce; atukià
ugly; bad entuditù (pl. entuditámma)
washed kunjukaráü (pl.)
beaten tschipitschürre (pl. kutipaû)
dead tibikíu (pl.)
arched tekereká
alone íbe
many (?) pari; cuncari
three akúnju
this jatúpe, jaûpe
in (a region); from (separation); by means of preposition
from (source); at the side of; in (time) me preposition
of te preposition
on, upon tína preposition
below búnju postposition
on account of déve; tiptischeû preposition
acknowledge akátuikè
be daï (sg.?); kéa (pl.?)
be ashamed
be born pedára
beat tschípake
become punjére
believe irimánju
bury kejenjùta (pl.?)
can puduéne
chat jake (pl. kuáke)
come ku
command ïebitschéne
confess kutéve
die pibikí (?)
do (cause) tujakè
fight piabakè (pl. kupiábake)
forgive kuitscharrakè, kuitscharaké
give uteürì, utere; kên
go down, descend keritschéü
go up tschukíti
hate kumbáte
have atú
help tikakambà
kiss tschumuge
know kériri, rthe risi, kereri
lie (down) tíe
live tipè, tipé
make, create uretì
obey jebarraké
play amukíri
praise tschakárrake
protect kakunjà
remember umutù (pl. kumutú)
sit penekà
stretch out kutikürre (pl. ?)
suffer híbitsche
talk tiyeicha ‘can talk’ ?; cf. 'ceremonial wand'
there is epí
touch undiri
wish, desire cuvu
then enjéme
above aëna
from there aipúreve
and tschie
as páe, pàe
imperative particle têi (sg.); tu (pl.)
no vâra ‘nothing’; cf. 'nothing'
thanks (?) payro


  1. ^ Golla, Victor. (2011). California Indian Languages. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-5202-6667-4
  2. ^ a b Zamponi, Raoul. 2004. Fragments of Waikuri (Baja California). Anthropological Linguistics 46. 156–193.
  3. ^ Zamponi, 2004
  4. ^ Baegert, Johann Jakob. 1772. Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Californien. Mannheim: Thurfürstliche Hof- und Academia Buchdruckerei