The Paraujanos call themselves the Anu͂, which means ‘people’. They received the name Paraujano from the neighboring Guajiros. The combination of palaa, meaning ‘sea’, and anu͂ literally means ‘people of the sea’, or fishermen. The Paraujano live in palafittes and are skilled at fishing at boating. According to a 2011 census, more than 21,000 people identify as Paraujano.
Paraujano is a Northern Arawakan, or Maipuran, language. It is derived from Gaujiro, yet is a distinct language and not a dialect of Gaujiro. The two languages are closely related. According to lexicostatistical analysis conducted by Oliver (1989) the two languages must have diverged around A.D. 900.
Status and Speakers
Paraujano is critically endangered and nearly extinct. The Maracaibo region began transforming into a largely populated industrial center in the early 1900s, as petroleum was extracted from the Maracaibo Lake. As the Paraujano mingled with others early on, their language was spread and spoken by some newcomers. However, by the 1970s there were only thirteen speakers remaining. Today there is one surviving fluent speaker, a thirty-year-old by the name of Yofri Márquez, who learned the language from his grandmother. There are a few partial speakers, most of whom are elderly. Revitalization efforts include Paraujano instruction in six regional elementary schools and the establishment of various cultural organizations.
The Paraujano phoneme contains 14 pulmonic consonants and 11 vowels.
|High||i i:||ɨ ɨ:||u u:|
|Mid||e e:||o o:|
 The Paraujano phoneme differs from closely related Guajiro, mainly in vowels and due to the incorporation of Spanish lexicon. There are a number of allophones in Paraujano. Among these allophones, there is a tendency toward palatization or nasalization.
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