Rare Language Fact File: Taushiro

Native to: The Peruvian Amazon

Number of native speakers: Thousands once spoke his language, now he’s the only one.

Spoken by: The Taushiro tribe

Learn some: There is only one speaker of Taushiro left, but if you were to meet him, you could greet him with ‘uñuntero’, which is how you announce your friendly arrival.

Interesting facts:

  • The story of the Taushiro is tragic but familiar. The tribe resisted invasion and attempts to enslave them by various foreign and Peruvian interests, by moving deeper into the jungle, hiding and protecting their settlements with traps. By the end of the 20th century, almost no one from outside the tribe had seen them or heard their language, but they were unable to hold out against disease and encroachment on their jungle by outsiders, and there remains only one Taushiro.
  • In 2017, it was made official: there was a solitary speaker of Taushiro, who had nursed his brother as he lay dying from malaria, knowing that he was losing the last person with whom he would every speak his native tongue again. The speaker’s name is Amadeo García García and he is now in his 70s. You can watch an interview with him here.
  • Taushiro has a very simple numbering system, which only goes up to ten. Speakers would indicate numbers by holding up their fingers and saying the corresponding word: 1. Washikanto; 2. Ashini; 3. Washiunweantu; 4. Nekenene; and 5. Ukontawa. For numbers higher than ten, they would simply say ‘ashintu’ and point to their toes.

The Language Shop provides support in any language you may need, including many of the rarer ones. Please speak to your account manager about your requirements.