Guajiboan languages

Wahívoan, Guajiboan
Colombian and Venezuelan llanos
Linguistic classification:

Macro-Arawakan (?)

  • Guajiban
Glottolog: guah1252[1]

Guajiboan (also Guahiban, Wahívoan, Guahiboan) is a language family spoken in the Orinoco River region in eastern Colombia and southwestern Venezuela, which is a savannah-like area known in Colombia as the Llanos.

Family division

Guajiboan consists of 5 languages:

Churuya is now extinct. It was formerly spoken in Meta, Colombia.

Macaguane is listed as a dialect of Guajibo in Kaufman (1994) and Campbell (1997). Gordon (2005) lists Playero (also Rio Arauca Guahibo), a dialect of Guajibo, as a separate language with a "low intelligibility of other Guahibo".

Guajibo and Cuiva form a dialect continuum.

Guajibo has the most speakers (over 23,000) and is the largest indigenous group in eastern Colombia. Approximately 9,000 in Venezuela.

Guayabero is the most divergent language of the family.

Genetic relations

Guajiboan has often been grouped together with Arawakan, Arauan, and Candoshi by many classifiers. However, this now seems unlikely as the similarity between Guajiboan and Arawakan has been attributed to language contact.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Guahibo". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.


External links

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