Piaroa–Saliban languages

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Colombia and Venezuela
Linguistic classification Jodï–Saliban?
  • Piaroa–Saliban
Glottolog sali1297[1]

The Saliban (Salivan) languages, also known as Piaroa–Saliban or Saliba–Piaroan, are a small proposed language family of the middle Orinoco Basin, which forms an independent island within an area of Venezuela and Colombia (northern llanos) dominated by peoples of Carib and Arawakan affiliation.

Family division[edit]

A connection between the two primary divisions, Piaroan and Sáliba, is widely assumed but has not been demonstrated.[2] In addition, Hotï is "probably" related.[3]

Saliba is a possible language isolate; if related to Piaroa, the connection is a distant one. Piaroan is a language or dialect cluster, consisting of Piaroa itself, Wirö (or "Maco"), and the extinct Ature. The Piaroa and Wirö both consider their languages to be distinct: they can understand each other, but not reliably.

Proposals have been put forth grouping the Hotï language (Jodï) with Piaroa–Saliban in a single Jodï–Saliban family.[4] Hotï was little known until recently and remains unclassified in most accounts.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Saliban". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Aikhenvald & Dixon, 1999, The Amazonian Languages
  3. ^ Zent S & E Zent. 2008. Los Hoti, in Aborigenes de Venezuela, vol. 2, second edition [1]
  4. ^ Labrada, Rosés; Emilio, Jorge (2015). "Jodi-Saliban". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

External links[edit]


  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1990). Language history in South America: What we know and how to know more. In D. L. Payne (Ed.), Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages (pp. 13–67). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70414-3.
  • Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The native languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), Atlas of the world's languages (pp. 46–76). London: Routledge.