Wayuu (Wayuunaiki)

Wayuu is an Arawakan language spoken by about 420,000 people on the Guajira Peninsula (Woumainpa’a in Wayuu) in northwestern Venezuela and northeastern Colombia. In Colombia it is spoken by about 120,000 people in the department of La Guajira (Wajiira), and in Venezuela it is spoken by about 300,000 people in the state of Zulia (Mma’ipakat Suuria).

The language is also known as Wayú, Wayúu, Wayunaiki, Guajiro, Guajira or Goajiro. There are two main dialects: Wüinpümüin and Wopumüin, which differ from each other mainly in grammar and vocabulary, and are mutually intelligible.

Wayuu is written with the Latin alphabet. It is taught in some schools, along with Spanish, however fewer than 1% of Wayuu speakers are literate in their language, while 5-15% are literate in Spanish. Efforts are being made to increase literacy among the Wayuu people, including translating the works of Gabriel García Márquez and other authors into Wayuu, and producing Wayuu dictionaries.

Wayuu alphabet

Wayuu alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Wayuu (Excel)

Some details provided by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample texts in Wayuu

Naa wayuukana jemeishi süpüla taashi süma wanawa sülu'u nakua'ipa, aka müin yaa epijainjana sünain anajiranawaa a'in nama napüshi.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in and about Wayuu

Information about Wayuu | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel


Information about Wayuu

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Arawakan languages

Achagua, Apurinã, Arawak, Asháninka, Ashéninka, Baniwa, Baniwa of Guainía, Baure, Caquinte, Chamicuro, Curripaco, Garifuna, Iñapari, Machiguenga, Nanti, Nomatsiguenga, Palikúr, Paraujuano, Paresi, Pauna, Piapoco, Taíno, Tariana, Terêna, Wapishana, Wayuu, Yanesha', Yine, Yucuna

Page last modified: 03.01.24


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