|Linguistic classification:||Macro-Chibchan ?
The Misumalpan languages (also Misumalpa or Misuluan) are a small family of Native American languages spoken by indigenous peoples on the east coast of Nicaragua and nearby areas. The name "Misumalpan" was devised by John Alden Mason and is composed of syllables from the names of the family's three members Miskitu, Sumu and Matagalpan. It was first recognized by Walter Lehmann in 1920. While all the languages of the Matagalpan branch are now extinct, the Miskitu and Sumu languages are alive and well: Miskito has almost 200,000 speakers and serves as a second language for speakers of other Indian languages on the Mosquito Coast. According to Hale, most speakers of Sumu also speak Miskitu.
Kaufman (1990) finds a connection with Macro-Chibchan to be "convincing", but Misumalpan specialist Ken Hale considers a possible connection between Chibchan and Misumalpan to be "too distant to establish".
The Misumalpan languages include:
Miskito became the dominant language of the Mosquito Coast from the late 17th century on, as a result of the people's alliance with the British Empire, which colonized the area. In northeastern Nicaragua, it continues to be adopted by former speakers of Sumo. Its sociolinguistic status is lower than that of the English-based creole of the southeast, and in that region, Miskito seems to be losing ground. Sumo is endangered in most areas where it is found, although some evidence suggests that it was dominant in the region before the ascendancy of Miskito. The Matagalpan languages are long since extinct, and not very well documented.
All Misumalpan languages share the same phonology, apart from phonotactics. The consonants are p, b, t, d, k, s, h, w, y, and voiced and voiceless versions of m, n, ng, l, r; the vowels are short and long versions of a, i, u.
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