Kawésqar (Afséksta)

Kawésqar is a language isolate spoken mainly in the village of Puerto Edén on Wellington Island in the Magallanes region in the Última Esperanza Province of southern Chile. In 2009 there were seven elderly native speakers of Kawésqar, and a few other people with some knowledge of the language.

Kawésqar is also known as Qawasqar, Alacaluf or Halakwulup. There were three groups of dialects: northern, central and southern. Only the northern dialect is still spoken.

The language was first documented in 1698 by the French adventurer Jean de la Guilbaudière, who compiled a list of vocabulary. A grammar of the language was produced by Jesuit missionaries in the 18th century. Other studies of the language have been undertaken since then.

A standard way to write Kawésqar with the Latin alphabet was established in 1999 as part of the Proyecto de Revitalización de la Lengua Kawésqar (Project to Revitalize the Kawésqar Language) run by the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Chile.

Kawésqar alphabet

Kawésqar alphabet and pronunciation


Acute accents (á) are used to indicate stress.

Download an alphabet chart for Kawésqar (Excel)

Sample text

Jála kawesqár arksá-s wa kius cacár askét laálte. Kuosá kuis c’ap páu ka kuteké kius cacár páu. Kuos siafkiás kuteké aqátal qálksta-ker-hójok eik’osekcé-er-hójok sa ajákta arrakstáwar wæs wæs kuosá kawésqar kuos laálte qar-ker asós

Translation (Spanish)

Hay una parte que se llama el Trinidad. Una pa' juera que sean, todo el cabo que están... el cabo Primero. Bueno, este cuento que sea antiguo... un muchacho, ¿no?, un muchacho joven era... y como están enamorao con la muchacha... y su padre y su mamá se fue a cazar... en... y a otra parte, no ve que es parte limpio. Entonces lo muchacho y con la muchacha quedó puh. Entonces, como decía antes, antes va a contar un cuento que ... que se ... una nutria y que decía ... y una poza, una poza grande, una nutria.

Source: http://www.kawesqar.uchile.cl/investigaciones/index.html

Videos in and about Kawésqar


Information about Kawésqar language

Language isolates

Adaizan, Ainu, Basque, Burushaski, Candoshi-Shapra, Chitimacha, Eskayan, Hadza, Haida, Karuk, Kawésqar, Keres, Kuot, Kusunda, Kutenai, Natchez, Nihali, Nivkh, Páez, Purepecha, Sandawe, Seri, Sumerian, Tartessian, Ticuna, Tiwi, Tonkawa, Tunica, Urarina, Waorani, Wardaman, Washo, Yaghan, Yuchi/Euchee, Zuni

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page created: 18.10.21. Last modified: 19.10.21


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