Macro-Puinavean languages

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Linguistic classification Proposed language family
Glottolog None

Macro-Puinavean is a hypothetical proposal linking some very poorly attested languages to the Nadahup family. The Puinave language is sometimes linked specifically with the Nadahup languages (AKA Maku), as Puinave–Maku, and the Maku language of Roraima is sometimes connected to the Arutani–Sape languages (yet again also known as Maku) in a Kalianan branch, a connection which Kaufman (1990) finds "promising", but there is too little data on these languages to know for sure. Hodï has been proposed specifically as a sister of Puinave–Nadahup.

Epps (2008)[1] criticizes the Puinave–Nadahup proposal for relying on inaccurate data, having no clear concept of basic vocabulary, and using an unsystematic mix of Nadahup languages in the comparison. The languages were originally linked simply because they are all called Maku "babble" by Arawakans; that is, because they are spoken by hunter-gatherers, and since then some linguists have attempted to verify the connection by finding cognates. However, no convincing cognates have yet been found. For example, Rivet and Tastevin claim that the Hup pronoun am "I" corresponds to Puinave am "I", but the Hup pronoun ’am means "you"; the Hup pronoun for "I" is ’ãh. Other "strikingly similar" pairs, such as Puinave ueyu "day" and Hup uerhó (wæd.hɔ́) "sun", are not particularly convincing, and no regular sound correspondences have been detected.


  1. ^ Patience Epps, 2008. A Grammar of Hup. Mouton de Gruyter.