Hey, guys! So, day five of the A to Z Challenge and we’re moving onto the letter E – with the language Ese ejja.

Ese ejja | A-Z of Endangered Languages | 学习Sprachen

Ese ejja (alternatively: Huarayo, Guarayo, Ese’ejja, Tiatinagua, among others) is an endangered Tacanan language spoken in Bolivia and Peru. The number of people who speak it does seem to vary; ranging anywhere from 1,090 (Lewis, 2016), 782 (Moseley, 2010), 725 (PROEL, 2013), to 1,867 (Wikipedia, 2016). However, what does seem to be agreed is that there are far more speakers, of all ages, in Bolivia.

There seems to be a fair amount of information available online about the grammar of Ese ejja (including a PhD thesis linked in the further reading section below); but there is little on the state of the language written in English. However, it would appear that, like with most other Amazonian languages, the encroachment of Spanish is the main danger to Ese ejja’s survival. On the other hand, the sheer amount of work that appears to being put into documenting the language could trigger some kind of revitalisation effort, though this is perhaps too early to tell.


Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2016. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.

Moseley, C., ed., 2007. Encyclopedia of the World’s Endangered Languages. Oxon: Routledge.

Moseley, C., ed., 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas.

PROEL, 2013. Promotora Española de Lingüística – Lengua Ese’eha. Madrid. Available from: http://www.proel.org/index.php?pagina=mundo/amerindia/ge_pano/takanan/eseeha. [Accessed 06 April 2016].

Wikipedia, 2016. Idioma ese eja. Available from: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idioma_ese_eja. [Accessed 06 April 2016].

Further Reading

A Grammar of Ese Ejja, a Takanan language of the Bolivian Amazon, PhD thesis, Marine Vuillermet (2012). (the first chapter, about the state of the language, is in French – but the grammar information is mostly in English.)

The distribution of verbal accent in Ese Ejja (Takana): Assignment, clash and resolution, Nicholas Rolle and Marine Vuillermet, (2014). (notes from a workshop/conference; mostly about Ese Ejja grammar.)

native-languages.org: Huarayo Language and the Huarayo Indian Tribe (Ese’ejja, Ese Eja, Ese Exa, Chama, Tiatinagua, Guarayo) (some word lists, some articles on the language.)

encyclopedia.com: Huarayo (1996)

Endangered Languages Project: Ese’jja


  1. That was really interesting. I had never heard of this language, which is not surprising as there are so few people speaking it! I really admire people who are good at languages. I speak a smattering of French but nothing else, despite learning it a school and trying to get to grips with it many times since.
    I have another blog in the A to Z Challenge here: Around My Kitchen Table

    • Hi, I’m glad you thought so! And I mean, yeah, even I haven’t heard of the vast majority of these languages until I go looking for them – there are just so many languages in the world, it’s got to be impossible to know all of them. Good to hear that you’ve learnt some French; I did that in school a long time ago too and it’s one of those languages I just let slide…

      Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  2. Very Nice Post… I am the AtoZ police making sure you are still participating, if you are not let me know…

    We should be up to or near the letter “H”… thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]

    Stop over and find a free “SIX STRINGS: BLOGGING AtoZ CHALLENGE” Here: http://www.jmhdigital.com/

    You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

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