|Native to||Ecuador, Colombia|
|Region||Oriente or Ecuadorian Amazon|
Official language in
|Ecuador: indigenous languages official in own territories|
While Cofán is an endangered language, it is classified as a developing language with 1400 to 2400 speakers. There are two types of Cofán: Aguarico (spoken in Ecuador) and San Miguel (primarily spoken in Colombia). Approximately 60% of Cofán speakers in Ecuador are literate in their own language.
Use of Cofán in Ecuador is connected to the language in land property rights documents and in the bilingual access to the language in schools. In Colombia, Cofán is more endangered because of war, displacement, and intermarriage.
Cofán is a language isolate. Some scholars claim Cofán is not classified into a language family. The language does exhibit some lexical similarities to Chibchan, a geographically neighboring language. However, evidence of the lexical influence Chibchan has on Cofán does not prove any genetic relationship between the two languages.
There are ten vowels in Cofán: five oral vowels and their nasal counterparts.
|Close||/i/, /ĩ/||/ɨ/, /ɨ̃/|
|Mid||/e/, /ẽ/||/o/, /õ/|
Word order in Cofán is mostly free and flexible and is influenced by pragmatic factors. (Co)subordinate clauses, however, have a strong preference for being predicate-final.
Paragraphs are a distinct and important structure in Cofán grammar. There are fifteen different paragraph types used in Cofán narrative discourse. The narrative paragraph and simultaneous paragraph “form the backbone of narrative discourse.” The coordinate descriptive paragraph and deictic paragraph are used to portray character or participant identity development and to outline situations. Reason, contrast, and antithetical paragraphs are used to foster relationships and tension between speakers and events. Amplification paragraphs, contraction paragraphs, negated antonym paragraphs and cyclic paragraphs are used in “paraphrasing” particular information. Lastly, comment paragraphs and quote and dialogue paragraphs are used to add detail to a narrative.
A written system of the Cofán alphabet has been devised by M. B. Borman. Some are simple letters, while others are compound. Nasalization on vowels is orthographically represented by placing ⟨n⟩ after the vowel. (For example, /ã/ is written ⟨an⟩.) Prenasalization on stops and affricates is orthographically represented either by placing ⟨m⟩ before bilabials (for example, ⟨mb⟩ for /ᵐb/) or by placing ⟨n⟩ elsewhere (for example, ⟨nd⟩ for /ⁿd/ and ⟨ng⟩ for /ⁿg/).
- Baldauf, R. B., Kaplan, R. B., King, K. A., & Haboud, M. (2007). Language planning and policy in Latin America: Language Planning and Policy in Ecuador (Vol. 1). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
- Borman, M. B. (1962). Cofan phonemes. SIL International Publications in Linguistics, 7th ser., 45-59. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.sil.org/resources/archives/8877.
- Borman, M. B. (1977). Cofan paragraph structure and function. SIL International Publications in Linguistics, 289-338. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.sil.org/resources/archives/8678.
- Borman, M. B. (1990). Cofan cosmology and history as revealed in their legends: The Cofan Alphabet. Quito, Ecuador: Instituto Linguistico de Verano.
- Cofán. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/con
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Cofán". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Gijn, E. V., Haude, K., & Muysken, P. (2011). Subordination in native South-American languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co.
- Klein, H. E., & Stark, L. R. (2011). South American Indian languages: retrospect and prospect. Austin: University of Texas Press.
- Lewis, M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (2015). Ethnologue: Languages of Ecuador. 18, 11-21. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://www.linguisticsnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Ethnologue-18-Ecuador.pdf
- Cofán at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Cofán". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Fischer, R. W. (2007). "Clause linkage in Cofán (A'ingae), a language of the Ecuadorian-Colombian border region". Cite journal requires
- Gijn, Rik van; Haude, Katharina; Muysken, Pieter (2011-04-29). Subordination in Native South American Languages. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 9789027287090.
- "Cofán". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- Klein, Harriet E. Manelis; Stark, Louisa R. (2011-07-20). South American Indian Languages: Retrospect and Prospect. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292737327.
- Borman, M.B. (Summer 1962). "Studies in Ecuadorian Indian Languages". Summer Institute of Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma. 7: 45–59.
- Fischer, Raphael; Hengeveld, Kees. "Cofán (A'ingae)". Amazonian Languages: An International Handbook. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
- Borman, M.B. (1977). "Discourse Grammar: Studies in Indigenous Languages of Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador". Summer Institute of Linguistics. 52:3: 290–338.
- Borman, M. B. (1990-01-01). Cofan cosmology and history as revealed in their legends. Instituto Linguistico de Verano.
- "Cofan". mpi-lingweb.shh.mpg.de. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- "Cofan paragraph structure and function". SIL International. 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "Cofán". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "Ethnologue 18 Ecuador" (PDF).