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Widest geographical area of any language group in Latin America, see Geographic distribution.
Linguistic classificationProposed language family
Arawakan languages (blue dots), Guajiboan languages (violet dots), and Arauan languages (green dots). Paler areas represent probable extension at the time of contact.

Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean centered on the Arawakan languages.[1] Sometimes, the proposal is called Arawakan, and the central family is called Maipurean.


Kaufman (1990) includes the following:

Payne (1991) and Derbyshire (1992) have:

Jolkesky (2016) argues for the following:

According to Jolkesky (op. cit., 611-616), the proto-Macro-Arawakan language would have been spoken in the Middle Ucayali River Basin during the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, and its speakers would have produced Tutishcainyo pottery in the region.

Martins (2005: 342–370) groups the Arawakan and Nadahup languages together as part of a proposed Makúan-Arawakan (Nadahup-Arawakan) family,[2] but this proposal has been rejected by Aikhenvald (2006: 237).[3]

Carvalho (2021) notes that the Arawakan and Arawan families have had significant long-term mutual interaction, but does not consider the two language families to be related. According to Carvalho (2021), the Juruá-Purus linguistic corridor had facilitated the migration of Arawakan speakers to the southern fringes of the Amazon basin.[4]


Pronominal system of the Macro-Arawakan languages:[5]

language I you (sg) he/she/it we you (pl) they
Proto-Arawakan *nu/*ni- *pɨ- *tʰu *wi/*wa- *hi- *ra-
Munichi -nɨ/-ɲɨ -pɨ - -wɨ -di -ra ‘3’
Puquina no, -ni-; po, -p-, -pi ʧu, -su- - - -
Candoshi no - su- ija, iː si -
Yanesha' na, no, ne pʲa, pʲo, pe - ja, jo, je sa, so, se -
Aguachile ni pi - waʔaha - -


Several words in the basic lexicon of the Macro-Arawakan languages were pointed out as possible cognates:[6]

language father eye neck hair bone firewood dung sleep die house tooth stone water sky
Proto-Arawakan *apa *uke *ʧano *si *napɨ *tsɨma *itika *maka *kama *pana, *ponku *ahtse *kʰiba *uni *enu
Munichi ukɨ (head) uɕi ʧu(-sɨ) ('fire') kʲa kma hna di idɨ
Puquina juqe miha unu haniɡo ('high')
Candoshi apaː ʂano ʃi nap somaː-si ('fire') ʧikaː makija paNkoː nas kaniːNta
Yanesha' apa ʧnoːpʲ ʃe napo ʦoːm tʲoʔj -maʔ ʐomu pokoːlʲ ahs onʲ enet
Aguachile asanu pani(ʃi) asi ipa enui


  1. ^ Michael, Lev (2021). "The Classification of South American Languages". Annual Review of Linguistics. 7 (1): 329–349. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011619-030419. ISSN 2333-9683. S2CID 228877184.
  2. ^ Martins, Valteir. 2005. Reconstruçâo fonológica do protomaku oriental. Utrecht: Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap.
  3. ^ Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2006. Semantics and pragmatics of grammatical relations in the Vaupés linguistic area. In: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon (eds.), Grammars in Contact: A Cross-linguistics Typology, 237–266. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Carvalho, Fernando O. de. 2021. Arawakan-Arawan Relations: A (so far) Unwritten Chapter in Western Amazonian Language History. June 12, 2021, Moscow School of Comparative Linguistics.
  5. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo. (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas. Brasilia: UnB. PhD Dissertation.
  6. ^ Jolkesky, Marcelo. (2016). Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas. Brasilia: UnB. PhD Dissertation.