Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Native peoples > Kawashkar


Kawésqar is one of the so-called Fuegian languages, along with Yaghan and Selk’nam, although these languages were never mutually intelligible and are thought to be unrelated. Kawésqar is polysynthetic and agglutinative; its nouns can be verbalized and subjectivized to form complex words that can be equivalent to a whole phrase in English. Kawésqar vocabulary is rich with terms for environmental conditions, as well as for local plants and wildlife. While the language has no specific name, it is sometimes referred to as afséksta, which means “talk, talk”. It is currently spoken only by a few individuals and is close to becoming extinct.