Bora–Witoto languages

northwestern Amazon
Linguistic classificationProposed language family

Bora–Witóto (also Bora–Huitoto, Bora–Uitoto, or, ambiguously, Witotoan) is a proposal to unite the Boran and Witotoan language families of southwestern Colombia (Amazonas Department) and neighboring regions of Peru and Brazil. Kaufman (1994) added the Andoque language.

Family division

Kaufman (1994) lists Bóran and Witótoan (Huitoto–Ocaina) as separate families (they are grouped together with Andoque as Bora–Witótoan; by 2007 he moved Andoque to Witotoan).

Genetic relations

Aschmann (1993) proposed Bora–Witoto as a connection between the Boran and Witotoan language families. Echeverri & Seifart (2016) refute the connection.

Kaufman (2007) includes Bora-Witoto in his Macro-Andean proposal, and added the Andoque language to the Witotoan family.[1] (Aschmann had considered Andoque a language isolate.) These proposals have not been accepted by other linguists. Gildea and Payne (2007) checked Bora-Witoto with Andoque, Proto-Cariban and Yagua, and found Bora-Witoto to be not related to any of the others.

Mason (1950: 236–238) groups Bora–Witoto, Tupian, and Zaparoan together as part of a proposed Macro-Tupí-Guaranían family.[2]


  1. ^ Kaufman, Terrence. 2007. South America. In: R. E. Asher and Christopher Moseley (eds.), Atlas of the World’s Languages (2nd edition), 59–94. London: Routledge.
  2. ^ Mason, J. Alden. 1950. The languages of South America. In: Julian Steward (ed.), Handbook of South American Indians, Volume 6, 157–317. (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 143.) Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.


  • Aschmann, Richard P. (1993). Proto Witotoan. Publications in linguistics (No. 114). Arlington, TX: SIL & the University of Texas at Arlington.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
  • Echeverri, Juan Alvaro & Frank Seifart. (2016). Proto-Witotoan: A re-evaluation of the distant genealogical relationship between the Boran and Witotoan linguistic families.
  • Gildea, Spike and Doris Payne. (2007). Is Greenberg's "Macro-Carib" viable? Bol. Mus. Para. Emílio Goeldi. Ciencias Humanas, Belém, v. 2, n. 2, p. 19-72, May-Aug. 2007 Online version: http://www.museu-goeldi.br/editora/bh/artigos/chv2n2_2007/Greenbergs(gildea).pdf
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1987). Language in the Americas. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • 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.

External links

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