The original language of Chili, generally called the Araucanian, is denominated by the natives Chili-dugu, or the Chili speech or language. The alphabet is the same as the Latin, except the want of x, which indeed is only a compound letter. The s likewise only occurs in about twenty of their words, and never at the termination; and the z is still more rare.
They are so careful to avoid the introduction of any foreign words into their language, that when any stranger settles among them he is obliged to adopt a new name in the Chili-dugu or language of the country, and even the missionaries must conform to this singular regulation, if they would obtain favour; and so fastidious are they in attention to the purity of their language, that the audience will interrupt a missionary while preaching, to correct the mistakes in language or pronunciation.
Molina most properly denominates the whole aborigines of Chili on both sides of the Andes, Chilese, as speaking one language, the Chili-dugu; names the tribes of Arauco and those in the same republican confederacy Araucanians; and gives distinct names like Falkner to the allied tribes: the Puelches, Cunchese, Huilliches, Pehuenches, and others.
They go almost naked, merely wrapping the skins of the Guanaco round their bodies, and they speak a corrupted and guttural dialect of the Chili-dugu or Chilese language.