Chibchan Studies
About Carlaz

PhD dissertation
PhD "bonus tracks"
Vocabularium Cornicum
Chibchan studies

Novel project

Current demos
Music gear
GarageBand presets

Ossian's Ride
Das Ludicroix
Hibachi Dealers


Older Projects:
Edlund fonts
Made with multilingual Mac
Tolkien translations

Related Sites:
CWIL Yahoo! Group
Carl on Myspace
Das Ludicroix on Myspace

This part of my web site collects some notes on the Chibchan languages of Central and northern South American and provide some links to information on Chibchan languages and related topics.

Initially, this web page is simply presenting some basic information about Chibchan studies and some links to external sources of information. I would hope to eventually include some linguistic resources here -- perhaps a spreadsheet collecting material on Proto-Chibchan or on Muisca -- but given the speed at which I work (very slow!) this could be a long time in coming.

My main interests -- and thus the focus of the part of my web site devoted to Chibchan studies -- are the Magdalenic Chibchan languages of northeastern Colombia.

I should emphasize that my Chibcha Studies pages should not be treated as authoritative sources of information. I am very much an amateur researcher in this field (and new to it) and do not easy access to the materials that professional scholars would. I may be confused, misinformed, or simply wrong about many things. But there is very little information about Chibcha studies online, and I hope to make these pages less confused, misinformed, and wrong as time goes on.

Overview of Chibchan languages & cultures

Distribution of Chibchan Languages

Chibchan languages are (or, in some cases, were) spoken in Colombia, as well as in Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Joseph Greenberg proposed a relationship between the Chibchan languages and Páez (and other lanugages sometimes grouped as "Páezan") as a Chibchan-Páezan block, and other scholars have suggested the existence of an even wider "Macro-Chibchan" family that would include a range of languages stretching from El Salvador to Chile. It is, however, probably best to stick to a relatively conservative Chibchan grouping.; the (admitedly rather sketchy) Wikipedia entry on "Chibchan languages" provides perhaps as good an overview as any.

Click the map image on the right to see a rough distribution of current and extinct Chibchan languages (based on the work of Adolfo Constenla Umaña).

Chibchan origins and early spread

Identifying the origins of the Chibchan socio-linguistic groups is problematic, but the Proto-Chibchan Urheimat may have been in southeastern Costa Rica and western Panama. Current interpretation of internal history relies rather more on glottochronology than is strictly desireable, but Northern Chibchan (represented solely by Paya in north-central Honduras) may have split off around 4000 BC, with Southern Chibchan beginning to split into the Vótic, Isthmic, and Magdalenic subgroups between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.

Other pages from my Chibchan studies collection

My first degree was in Folklore & Mythology (specifically, that of medieval Scandinavia). My wife is from Bogotá, Colombia, which led me to develop an interest in the pre-Columbian Muisca culture of Cundinamarca and Boyacá. I started by trying to learn something about the (now extinct) Muisca language, and from there my interests have expanded into other Colombian Chibchan cultures and languages.

Gonavindua Tairona

Tairona Heritage Trust
Tairona Heritage Trust

Bogotá, Colombia
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