Callawalla (also Callahuaya or Kallawaya) is an endangered indigenous language spoken in Bolivia, related to Quechua. It is used only as a special language by witch-doctors, having no native speakers. It was a language spoken by the herbalists of Incan emperors. They live in Bautista Saavedra Province, La Paz Department, Bolivia. The province is located north of the Cordillera Real (Oriental) in the Apolobamba Mountains' foothills, an area also known as Cordillera de Carabaya.
Bolivians refer to the region where the speakers live as "Qollahuayas," meaning "place of the medicines," because the Callahuaya are renowned Andean herbalists. Since they treat or cure with plants, minerals, animal products, and rituals, peasants refer to the speakers as "Qolla kapachayuh", meaning "lords of the medicine bag."
It was once spoken in the Bolivian highlands, especially in the region north of Lake Titicaca. In its pure version it is now extinct. A corrupt version known as "Kollyawaya jargon" is now spoken by a few (<10) people in the Charazani area as a second language. All the speakers are ethnic Quechua and all are men; women and children don't speak the language.
Callahuaya was closest to Puquina and Bolivian Quechua. With Puquina disappearing in the seventeenth century, the Callahuaya continued using Puquina words within Quechua grammar when male herbalists spoke about plants and medicine. It is a secret language, in that it's not taught to women or outsiders. Its purpose is for curing sickness, machai-juvai, also referred to as language of colleagues. There are an estimated 12,000 words.
Callawalla @ Ethnologue
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