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Puquina

Puquina is a small, mostly-extinct language family spoken largely in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Due to paucity of evidence it has been hard to link to any other language families, but it is possibly linked to the Arawakan languages.

The name “Puquina” has also been applied to a single language centuries ago, linked to the civilisation that built Tiwanaku. It’s thought that the Qhapaq simi – the ethnic language of the Incas themselves (as opposed to the official language of the Inca Empire, which was Quechua) was related.

Neither of the two “extant” Puquina languages are indisputably Puquina at all. There is Leco, with 20–30 remaining native speakers just east of Lake Titicaca, but it might instead be related to the Sechura-Catacao languages. Then there’s Kallawaya, which is a mixed language between Puquina and Quechua, and was used as a ritual language for a group of itinerant healers (so not a true native language), and is also only spoken now by an estimated 10–20 people.