The Muniche Language

Muniche is an indigenous language historically spoken on the Paranapura river in the Peruvian Amazon. It seems to be a linguistic isolate, meaning that it is not related to any living language. The Muniche people and their language have been known by several names. The name 'Muniche' dates to the earliest colonial records in the 17th century, and corresponds with the name used by current semispeakers. Variants and other names include Munichi(s), Otonabes, Otonavis, and Otonahuis. Some authors have identified 'Paranapura' as an alternate name because the Muniches live on the Paranapura River, yet this appears to conflate the Muniche language with another, extinct language.
The last fully fluent speakers of Muniche were born between 1915 and 1925; the language was moribund by the early 1930s. Language shift was probably taking place from Muniche to both Quechua and Spanish from the beginning of the 20th century.
Previous linguistic work on Muniche is extremely limited. The most important work is Gibson (1996), a sketch of Muniche phonology and verbal morphology based on the author's undergraduate thesis. Other than Gibson's work, documentation of Muniche is restricted to four brief wordlists.

To learn more about Muniche phonology and orthograpy, please see the alphabet table here. For more information, see the grammar made in Munichis, 2009 (Spanish Only).


Doña Alejandrina (center) smiles with Greg and Stephanie in Munichis (Chris Beier, 2009)


dictionary home