Bora–Witoto languages

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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[edit]

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[edit]

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. (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.



  • 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:
  • 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[edit]