Paezan languages

Paezan languages

Paezan (also Páesan, Paezano, Interandine) is a hypothetical language family of Colombia and Ecuador.

Proposed genealogical relations

Currently, Páez (Nasa Yuwe) is best considered either a language isolate or the only surviving member of an otherwise extinct language family (Adelaar & Muysken 2004, Gordon 2005, Matteson 1972, Fabre 2005). However, Páez has often been grouped with other languages into a "Paezan" family, although some of these proposals are due to historical error. Campbell (1997: 173) states: "There is no consensus upon Paezan, and opinions vary greatly".

Páez, Panzaleo, Andaquí

One of the more oft repeated statements (e.g. Loukota 1968; Kaufman 1990, 1994) is the supposed connection between Páez and the extinct Panzaleo (also known as Pansaleo, Latacunga, or Quito), formerly spoken in highlands of Ecuador. However, Panzaleo is poorly documented and the evidence for this relationship is weak and may be due to language contact. Thus, Panzaleo may best be considered an unclassified isolate (Adelaar & Muysken 2004: 393-397; Campbell 1997).

The Andaquí isolate (also extinct) is often connected with Páez in a Paezan grouping. The documentation consists of a 20-page list of words and expressions by an anonymous author published in 1928 and another wordlist collected in 1854 by a priest (Manuel María Albis). There are a number of similarities in vocabulary between Andaquí and Páez. In other aspects, the differences are greater. Gordon (2005) places Andaquí under the Barbacoan family.

Páez and Coconucan

The Coconucan languages (Coconuco, Guambiano, and Totoró) were first grouped together with Páez by Henri Beuchat & Paul Rivet in 1910 (under a larger "Chibchan" family, which is considerably more inclusive than the conservative Chibchan recognized today). Curnow (1998) shows how this grouping is based on misinterpretation of a "Moguex" vocabulary of Douay (1888), which Curnow believes to be a mixed list of both Páez and Guambiano/Totoró. This has led to subsequent classifiers (e.g. Kaufman 1990, 1994; Campbell 1997; Greenberg 1956, 1987; Tovar & Larruceau de Tovar 1984) to group Páez with Guambiano (missing the obvious identification of Coconucan as a sub-family under Barbacoan) leading to a tree such as that of Kaufman (1994):

I. Andaqui: 1. AndaquíII. Paezan proper: 2. Páez: 3. PanzaleoIII. Coconucan : 4. Coconuco : 5. Guambiano (a.k.a. Guambiano-Moguez): 6. Totoró

Then, since Guambiano is connected with the Barbacoan family, a putative "Paezan-Barbacoan" (or "Páes-Barbakóa") family develops:

I. "Paezan": 1. Andaquí: A. Paezan proper:: 2. Páez:: 3. Panzaleo: B. Coconucan :: 4. Coconuco :: 5. Guambiano:: 6. Totoró

II. "Barbacoan": A. Northern:: 1. Awa Pit:: 2. Muellama:: 3. Pasto: B. Southern:: 4. Caranqui:: 5. Cha’palaachi:: 6. Tsafiqui

Matteson's 1972 comparison of Páez and Guambiano vocabularies show just a 5.2% overlap. The same author has shown also that comparisons between Páez and Arawak, Quechua and Proto-Chibchan evidence greater similarities: respectively 16.9, 11.8 and 14.5%. Following linguists such as Matteson (1972), Curnow (1998), Curnow & Liddicoat (1998), and Adelaar & Muysken (2004), the Coconucan languages should be placed under Barbacoan. The question of connections between Páez, Panzaleo, and Andaquí remains open.

A family known as "Interandine" consists of Páez, Panzaleo, and the Coconucan languages (but excludes Andaquí).

Thus, a conservative classification will recognize Páez, Panzaleo, and Andaquí as isolates and a Barbacoan family consisting of Guambiano, Totoró, Awa Pit, Cha’palaachi, and Tsafiqui that is, as of current research, not demonstrably related to these three isolates.

More distant relations

In spite of the confusion involving Páez and Guambiano discussed above, the Paezan "family" has been connected with other families into larger phylums. These currently remain to be supported by evidence. The most common proposal is the inclusion of Paezan into a "Macro-Chibchan" (or "Chibchan-Paezan") stock with Barbacoan, Chibchan, Chocoan, Jirajiran, and other isolates, such as Betoi, Kamsá (Sibundoy), Yaruro, Esmeraldeño, Mochica, Cunza (Atacameño), Itonama, Yurumanguí, and sometimes others.

Morris Swadesh's "Paezan" includes Páez, Barbacoan, Coconucan, Andaquí, Cunza, Kapixana, and Mashubí.

Kaufman's (1990, 1994) "Macro-Páesan "cluster" proposal includes "Paesan" (as explained above), Barbacoan, Cunza-Kapixana, Betoi, Itonama, and Warao.

ee also

* Páez language
* Barbacoan languages
* Páez people

External links

* Ethnologue: [ Páez]
* Ethnologue: [ Barbacoan]
* Proel: [ Sub-tronco Paezano]
* Proel: [ Familia Barbacoana]


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* Curnow, Timothy J. (1998). Why Paez is not a Barbacoan language: The nonexistence of "Moguex" and the use of early sources. "International Journal of American Linguistics", "64" (4), 338-351.
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* Loukotka, Čestmír. (1968). "Classification of South American Indian languages". Los Angeles: Latin American Studies Center, University of California.
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