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Waku, wakuenai (waku, wakwinay)

Other names

Banivo, baniwa, curripaco-baniwa, kohoroxitari, kurripako-baniwa., kurripako

Spoken in ...

Brazil: state of Amazonas.



Number of speakers

Total number: approximately 3,800, of whom 1,000 to 6,000 are Baniwa and 2,800 to 3,700 Curripaco. Data is confusing, since it is not always clear if both groups are included.

Legal status

Spanish is the official language of Venezuela. Since 1999, the country's native peoples have also been able to use indigenous tongues in an official capacity. The Venezuelan state has approved a series of laws to protect its Amerindian languages in recent years, although this situation is not currently reflected in real life.

Portuguese is Brazil's only official language. The country's only linguistic legislation concerning other tongues refers to schooling and is restricted to bilingual and intercultural primary education (exclusively in indigenous communities), although there are actually few trained bilingual teachers.

In Colombia Spanish is the official language, alongside 'the languages and dialects of the ethnic groups in their territories', but this is merely a symbolic recognition.


QUEIXALÓS F. and O. RENAULT-LESCURE (eds.) (2000) As línguas amazônicas hoje, IRD/ISA/MPEG, São Paulo.


Some experts consider that Baniwa and Curripaco (or Kurripako) are the same language. From that perspective, the two terms would be synonyms, the first corresponding to Venezuelan and Brazilian use, and the second to Colombian use. Other experts consider that the two groups share the same culture but speak very different dialects or even separate languages belonging to different subgroups within the Arawakan family.

Curripaco has three dialect variants, namely ôjo-kjárru, âja-kurri and êje-kjénim.


  • Family:
    Arawakan or Maipuran
  • Branch:
    Northern Amazonas
  • Group:
    Eastern Nawiki, Karu, Ipeka-Kurripako


  • Continents:
  • Countries:
    Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil
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