Cayubaba (Cayuvava, Cayuwaba, Kayuvava) is a moribund language of the Bolivian Amazon. The Cayubaba people inhabit the Beni region to the west of the Mamoré River, North of the Santa Ana Yacuma, with a population of 794 inhabitants.
Since the declaration of the Supreme Decree N.º 25894 on September 11, 2000, Cayubaba has been one of the official indigenous languages of Bolivia, which was included in the Political Constitution, which was introduced on February 7, 2009.
As shown by Crevels and Muysken (2012), the territory of Cayubaba forms part of a region historically known as Mojos (or Moxos), that covers approximately 200,000 square kilometers of what is currently the Department of Beni. Above all, the Cayubaba focus on traditional farming, growing rice, yucca, corn, bananas, sugar cane, beans, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc. They also raised livestock, although on a small scale. The Cayubaba community meets at the Subcentral Indígena Cayubaba, which is affiliated to the Indigenous Peoples Center of Beni (CPIB) and is, therefore, a member of the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Eastern Bolivia (CIDOB).
The first to establish contact with the Cayubaba was the Jesuit missionary priest, P. Agustín Zapata in 1693. As Crevels and Muysken (2012) point out, it was during this first visit to Cayubaba territory that Father Zapata saw seven villages, of which six had approximately 1,800 inhabitants and one had more than 2,000. At the beginning of the 18th century, P. Antonio Garriga funded the Mission of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which was primarily inhabited by the Cayubaba. Later the Missions of San Carlos, Conception, and Peñas were founded.
At the beginning of the 19th century, when Swedish geologist and paleontologist Erland Nordenskiold visited Cayubaba, there were only 100 people from the group, who apart from their language, kept very little of their native culture. The Cayubaba region was famous for growing tobacco. At the time of the exploitation of rubber, the commercialization of tobacco was intense throughout the country, and Exaltación became a busy port on the Mamoré River. In the mid- 20th century, however, the cultivation of tobacco was almost stopped by the mass emigration of Cayubaba to Exaltación, who were fleeing the measles epidemic that almost decimated the population.
As indicated by Crevels and Muysken (2012), despite all the tentative proposals to genetically classify Cayubaba (see, for example, Greenberg, 1987); Kaufman, 1990, 1994; Suárez, 1974), the language is still considered a language isolate.
Cayubaba presents the following system of consonantal phonemes (taken from Crevels and Muysken, 2012) based on (Key 1961), 1962, 1967). The consonant phoneme represented below with /r/ has allophones that include [ɾ~ l~ d̥].
In the second table, we are presented with the system of vowel phonemes (taken from Crevels and Muysken, 2012) and based on (Key, 1961).