Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian and traditionally
as Hamito-Semitic (Chamito-Semitic) or Semito-Hamitic, is a
large language family of about 300 languages and dialects. It
includes languages spoken predominantly in West Asia, North Africa,
Horn of Africa
Hausa (Chadic branch), the dominant language of northern Nigeria,
Ghana, and southern Niger, spoken as a first language by over 27
million people and used as a lingua franca by another 20 million
across West Africa and the Sahel
Oromo (Cushitic branch), spoken in
In addition to languages spoken today, Afroasiatic includes several
important ancient languages, such as Ancient Egyptian, Akkadian,
1 Etymology 2 Distribution and branches 3 Classification history
4 Position among the world's languages 5 Date of Afroasiatic 6 Afroasiatic Urheimat 7 Similarities in grammar and syntax 8 Shared vocabulary
8.1 Etymological bibliography
9 See also 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 External links
During the early 1800s, linguists grouped the Berber, Cushitic and
Egyptian languages within a "Hamitic" phylum, in acknowledgement of
these languages' genetic relation with each other and with those in
the Semitic phylum. The terms "Hamitic" and "Semitic" were
etymologically derived from the Book of Genesis, which describes
various Biblical tribes descended from Ham and Shem, two sons of
Noah. By the 1860s, the main constituent elements within the
broader Afroasiatic family had been worked out.
The scholar Friedrich Müller introduced the name "Hamito-Semitic" for
the entire family in his Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft (1876).
Interrelations between branches of Afroasiatic (Lipiński 2001)
Some linguists' proposals for grouping within Afroasiatic
The Afroasiatic language family is usually considered to include the following branches:
Berber Chadic Cushitic Egyptian Omotic Semitic
Although there is general agreement on these six families, there are some points of disagreement among linguists who study Afroasiatic. In particular:
In the 9th century, the Hebrew grammarian Judah ibn Quraysh of Tiaret
Distribution of the Afroasiatic/Hamito-
Proposed Afroasiatic sub-divisions
Greenberg (1963) Newman (1980) Fleming (post-1981) Ehret (1995)
Semitic Egyptian Berber Cushitic
Northern Cushitic (equals Beja) Central Cushitic Eastern Cushitic Western Cushitic (equals Omotic) Southern Cushitic
Berber–Chadic Egypto-Semitic Cushitic
Cushitic Ongota Non-Ethiopian
Chadic Berber Egyptian Semitic Beja
North Omotic South Omotic
Beja Agaw East–South Cushitic
Eastern Cushitic Southern Cushitic
Egyptian Berber Semitic
Orel & Stobova (1995) Diakonoff (1996) Bender (1997) Militarev (2000)
Berber–Semitic Chadic–Egyptian Omotic Beja Agaw Sidamic East Lowlands Rift
Berber Cushitic Semitic
Omotic Chadic Macro-Cushitic
Berber Cushitic Semitic
African North Afrasian
Little agreement exists on the subgrouping of the five or six branches
of Afroasiatic: Semitic, Egyptian, Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, and
Christopher Ehret (1979), Harold Fleming (1981), and
Joseph Greenberg (1981) all agree that the
Paul Newman (1980) groups Berber with Chadic and Egyptian with
Semitic, while questioning the inclusion of
Position among the world's languages Afroasiatic is one of the four major language families spoken in Africa identified by Joseph Greenberg in his book The Languages of Africa (1963). It is one of the few whose speech area is transcontinental, with languages from Afroasiatic's Semitic branch also spoken in the Middle East and Europe. There are no generally accepted relations between Afroasiatic and any other language family. However, several proposals grouping Afroasiatic with one or more other language families have been made. The best-known of these are the following:
Hermann Möller (1906) argued for a relation between Semitic and the Indo-European languages. This proposal was accepted by a few linguists (e.g. Holger Pedersen and Louis Hjelmslev). (For a fuller account, see Indo-Semitic languages.) However, the theory has little currency today, although most linguists do not deny the existence of grammatical similarities between both families (such as grammatical gender, noun-adjective agreement, three-way number distinction, and vowel alternation as a means of derivation). Apparently influenced by Möller (a colleague of his at the University of Copenhagen), Holger Pedersen included Hamito-Semitic (the term replaced by Afroasiatic) in his proposed Nostratic macro-family (cf. Pedersen 1931:336–338), also included the Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic, Yukaghir languages, and Dravidian Languages. This inclusion was retained by subsequent Nostraticists, starting with Vladislav Illich-Svitych and Aharon Dolgopolsky. Joseph Greenberg (2000–2002) did not reject a relationship of Afroasiatic to these other languages, but he considered it more distantly related to them than they were to each other, grouping instead these other languages in a separate macro-family, which he called Eurasiatic, and to which he added Chukotian, Gilyak, Korean, Japanese-Ryukyuan, Eskimo–Aleut, and Ainu. Most recently, Sergei Starostin's school has accepted Eurasiatic as a subgroup of Nostratic, with Afroasiatic, Dravidian and Kartvelian in Nostratic outside of Eurasiatic. The even larger Borean super-family contains Nostratic as well as Dené-Caucasian and Austric.
Date of Afroasiatic
Speech sample in the Semitic Neo-
The earliest written evidence of an Afroasiatic language is an Ancient
Egyptian inscription dated to c. 3400 BC (5,400 years ago).
Symbols on Gerzean (Naqada II) pottery resembling Egyptian hieroglyphs
date back to c. 4000 BC, suggesting an earlier possible dating. This
gives us a minimum date for the age of Afroasiatic. However, Ancient
Egyptian is highly divergent from Proto-Afroasiatic (Trombetti 1905:
1–2), and considerable time must have elapsed in between them.
Estimates of the date at which the
Map showing one of the proposed Afroasiatic Urheimat
Verbal paradigms in several Afroasiatic languages:
↓ Number Language → Arabic Coptic Kabyle Somali Beja Hausa
Meaning → write die fly come eat drink
singular 1 ʼaktubu timou ttafgeɣ imaadaa tamáni ina shan
2f taktubīna temou tettafgeḍ timaadaa tamtínii kina shan
2m taktubu kmou tamtíniya kana shan
3f smou tettafeg tamtíni tana shan
3m yaktubu fmou yettafeg yimaadaa tamíni yana shan
dual 2 taktubāni
plural 1 naktubu tənmou nettafeg nimaadnaa támnay muna shan
2m taktubūna tetənmou tettafgem timaadaan támteena kuna shan
2f taktubna tettafgemt
3m yaktubūna semou ttafgen yimaadaan támeen suna shan
3f yaktubna ttafgent
Widespread (though not universal) features of the Afroasiatic languages include:
A set of emphatic consonants, variously realized as glottalized, pharyngealized, or implosive. VSO typology with SVO tendencies. A two-gender system in the singular, with the feminine marked by the sound /t/. All Afroasiatic subfamilies show evidence of a causative affix s. Semitic, Berber, Cushitic (including Beja), and Chadic support possessive suffixes. Nisba derivation in -j (earlier Egyptian) or -ī (Semitic) Morphology in which words inflect by changes within the root (vowel changes or gemination) as well as with prefixes and suffixes.
One of the most remarkable shared features among the Afroasiatic
languages is the prefixing verb conjugation (see the table at the
start of this section), with a distinctive pattern of prefixes
beginning with /ʔ t n y/, and in particular a pattern whereby
third-singular masculine /y-/ is opposed to third-singular feminine
and second-singular /t-/.
According to Ehret (1996), tonal languages appear in the
Speech sample in Shilha (Berber branch)
Speech sample in Somali (Cushitic branch)
Speech sample in
The following are some examples of Afroasiatic cognates, including ten pronouns, three nouns, and three verbs.
Source: Christopher Ehret, Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
Note: Ehret does not make use of Berber in his etymologies, stating (1995: 12): "the kind of extensive reconstruction of proto-Berber lexicon that might help in sorting through alternative possible etymologies is not yet available." The Berber cognates here are taken from previous version of table in this article and need to be completed and referenced.
Abbreviations: NOm = 'North Omotic', SOm = 'South Omotic'. MSA = 'Modern South Arabian', PSC = 'Proto-Southern Cushitic', PSom-II = 'Proto-Somali, stage 2'. masc. = 'masculine', fem. = 'feminine', sing. = 'singular', pl. = 'plural'. 1s. = 'first person singular', 2s. = 'second person singular'.
Symbols: Following Ehret (1995: 70), a caron ˇ over a vowel indicates rising tone, and a circumflex ^ over a vowel indicates falling tone. V indicates a vowel of unknown quality. Ɂ indicates a glottal stop. * indicates reconstructed forms based on comparison of related languages.
Proto-Afroasiatic Omotic Cushitic Chadic Egyptian Semitic Berber
*Ɂân- / *Ɂîn- or *ân- / *în- ‘I’ (independent pronoun) *in- ‘I’ (Maji (NOm)) *Ɂâni ‘I’ *nV ‘I’ ink, *ʲānak 'I' *Ɂn ‘I’ nek / nec ‘I, me’
*i or *yi ‘me, my’ (bound) i ‘I, me, my’ (Ari (SOm)) *i or *yi ‘my’ *i ‘me, my’ (bound) -i, *-aʲ (1s. suffix) *-i ‘me, my’ inu / nnu / iw ‘my’
*Ɂǎnn- / *Ɂǐnn- or *ǎnn- / *ǐnn- ‘we’ *nona / *nuna / *nina (NOm) *Ɂǎnn- / *Ɂǐnn- ‘we’ — inn, *ʲānan ‘we’ *Ɂnn ‘we’ nekni / necnin / neccin ‘we’
*Ɂânt- / *Ɂînt- or *ânt- / *înt- ‘you’ (sing.) *int- ‘you’ (sing.) *Ɂânt- ‘you’ (sing.) — nt-, *ʲānt- ‘you’ (sing.) *Ɂnt ‘you’ (sing.) netta "he" (keyy / cek "you" (masc. sing.))
*ku, *ka ‘you’ (masc. sing., bound) — *ku ‘your’ (masc. sing.) (PSC) *ka, *ku (masc. sing.) -k (2s. masc. suffix) -ka (2s. masc. suffix) (Arabic) inek / nnek / -k "your" (masc. sing.)
*ki ‘you’ (fem. sing., bound) — *ki ‘your’ (fem. sing.) *ki ‘you’ (fem. sing.) -ṯ (fem. sing. suffix, < *ki) -ki (2s. fem. sing. suffix) (Arabic) -m / nnem / inem "your" (fem. sing.)
*kūna ‘you’ (plural, bound) — *kuna ‘your’ (pl.) (PSC) *kun ‘you’ (pl.) -ṯn, *-ṯin ‘you’ (pl.) *-kn ‘you, your’ (fem. pl.) -kent, kennint "you" (fem. pl.)
*si, *isi ‘he, she, it’ *is- ‘he’ *Ɂusu ‘he’, *Ɂisi ‘she’ *sV ‘he’ sw, *suw ‘he, him’, sy, *siʲ ‘she, her’ *-šɁ ‘he’, *-sɁ ‘she’ (MSA) -s / nnes / ines "his/her/its"
*ma, *mi ‘what?’ *ma- ‘what?’ (NOm) *ma, *mi (interr. root) *mi, *ma ‘what?’ m ‘what?’, ‘who?’ mā (Arabic, Hebrew) / mu? (Assyrian) ‘what?’ ma? / mayen? / min? "what?"
*wa, *wi ‘what?’ *w- ‘what?’ *wä / *wɨ ‘what?’ (Agaw) *wa ‘who?’ wy ‘how ...!’
mamek? / mamec? / amek? "how?
*dîm- / *dâm- ‘blood’ *dam- ‘blood’ (Gonga) *dîm- / *dâm- ‘red’ *d-m- ‘blood’ (West Chadic) i-dm-i ‘red linen’ *dm / dǝma (Assyrian) / dom (Hebrew) ‘blood’ idammen "bloods"
*îts ‘brother’ *itsim- ‘brother’ *itsan or *isan ‘brother’ *sin ‘brother’ sn, *san ‘brother’ aẖ (Hebrew) "brother" uma / gʷma "brother"
*sǔm / *sǐm- ‘name’ *sum(ts)- ‘name’ (NOm) *sǔm / *sǐm- ‘name’ *ṣǝm ‘name’ smi ‘to report, announce’ *ism (Arabic) / shǝma (Assyrian) ‘name’ isen / isem "name"
*-lisʼ- ‘to lick’ litsʼ- ‘to lick’ (Dime (SOm)) — *alǝsi ‘tongue’ ns, *nīs ‘tongue’ *lsn ‘tongue’ iles "tongue"
*-maaw- ‘to die’ — *-umaaw- / *-am-w(t)- ‘to die’ (PSom-II) *mǝtǝ ‘to die’ mwt ‘to die’ *mwt / mawta (Assyrian) ‘to die’ mmet "to die"
*-bǐn- ‘to build, to create; house’ bin- ‘to build, create’ (Dime (SOm)) *mǐn- / *mǎn- ‘house’; man- ‘to create’ (Beja) *bn ‘to build’; *bǝn- ‘house’ — *bnn / bani (Assyrian) / bana (Hebrew) ‘to build’ *bn(?) (esk "to build")
There are two etymological dictionaries of Afroasiatic, one by
Christopher Ehret, and one by
Number Proto-Afroasiatic Form Meaning Berber Chadic Cushitic Egyptian Omotic Semitic
1 *ʔab father ✔ ✔ ✔
2 (ʔa-)bVr bull
✔ ✔ ✔
3 (ʔa-)dVm red, blood ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
4 *(ʔa-)dVm land, field, soil
5 ʔa-pay- mouth
6 ʔigar/ *ḳʷar- house, enclosure ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
7 *ʔil- eye ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
8 (ʔi-)sim- name ✔ ✔
9 *ʕayn- eye
10 *baʔ- go
11 *bar- son ✔ ✔
12 *gamm- mane, beard
13 *gVn cheek, chin
14 *gʷarʕ- throat
15 *gʷinaʕ- hand
16 *kVn- co-wife ✔ ✔
17 *kʷaly kidney
18 *ḳa(wa)l-/ *qʷar- to say, call
19 *ḳas- bone ✔ ✔
20 *libb heart
21 *lis- tongue ✔ ✔
22 *maʔ- water *aman *aman
23 *mawVt- to die ✔ ✔
24 *sin- tooth ✔ ✔
25 *siwan- know ✔ ✔
26 *inn- I, we ✔
27 *-k- thou ✔ ✔ ✔
28 *zwr seed
29 *ŝVr root
30 *šun to sleep, dream
Etymological bibliography Some of the main sources for Afroasiatic etymologies include:
Cohen, Marcel. 1947. Essai comparatif sur le vocabulaire et la
phonétique du chamito-sémitique. Paris: Champion.
Diakonoff, Igor M. et al. 1993–1997. "Historical-comparative
vocabulary of Afrasian", St. Petersburg Journal of African Studies
Ehret, Christopher. 1995. Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic
(Proto-Afrasian): Vowels, Tone, Consonants, and Vocabulary (=
University of California Publications in
Borean languages Indo-European languages Indo-Semitic languages Languages of Africa Languages of Asia Languages of Europe Nostratic languages Proto-Afroasiatic language
^ a b c Sands, Bonny (2009). "Africa’s Linguistic Diversity".
Bibliography See also: § Etymological bibliography
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (September 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Anthony, David. 2007. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How
Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Barnett, William and John Hoopes (editors). 1995. The Emergence of
Pottery. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Bender, Lionel et al. 2003. Selected Comparative-Historical
Afro-Asiatic Studies in Memory of Igor M. Diakonoff. LINCOM.
Bomhard, Alan R. 1996. Indo-European and the Nostratic Hypothesis.
Diakonoff, Igor M. 1988. Afrasian Languages. Moscow: Nauka.
Diakonoff, Igor M. 1996. "Some reflections on the Afrasian linguistic
macrofamily." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 55, 293.
Diakonoff, Igor M. 1998. "The earliest Semitic society: Linguistic
data." Journal of Semitic Studies 43, 209.
Dimmendaal, Gerrit, and Erhard Voeltz. 2007. "Africa". In Christopher
Moseley, ed., Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages.
Ehret, Christopher. 1995. Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic
(Proto-Afrasian): Vowels, Tone, Consonants, and Vocabulary. Berkeley
and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Ehret, Christopher. 1997. Abstract of "The lessons of deep-time
historical-comparative reconstruction in Afroasiatic: reflections on
Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic: Vowels, Tone, Consonants, and
Vocabulary (U.C. Press, 1995)", paper delivered at the Twenty-fifth
Annual Meeting of the North American Conference on Afro-Asiatic
Linguistics, held in Miami, Florida on 21–23 March 1997.
Finnegan, Ruth H. 1970. "Afro-Asiatic languages West Africa". Oral
Literature in Africa, pg 558.
Fleming, Harold C. 2006. Ongota: A Decisive Language in African
Prehistory. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1950. "Studies in African linguistic
classification: IV. Hamito-Semitic." Southwestern Journal of
Anthropology 6, 47-63.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1955. Studies in African Linguistic
Classification. New Haven: Compass Publishing Company. (Photo-offset
reprint of the SJA articles with minor corrections.)
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1963. The Languages of Africa. Bloomington:
Indiana University. (Heavily revised version of Greenberg 1955.)
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1966.
The Languages of Africa (2nd ed. with
additions and corrections). Bloomington: Indiana University.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1981. "African linguistic classification."
General History of Africa, Volume 1: Methodology and African
Prehistory, edited by Joseph Ki-Zerbo, 292–308. Berkeley and Los
Angeles: University of California Press.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 2000–2002. Indo-European and Its Closest
Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family, Volume 1: Grammar, Volume
2: Lexicon. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Hayward, R. J. 1995. "The challenge of Omotic: an inaugural lecture
delivered on 17 February 1994". London: School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London.
Heine, Bernd and Derek Nurse. 2000. African Languages, Chapter 4.
Cambridge University Press.
Hodge, Carleton T. (editor). 1971. Afroasiatic: A Survey. The Hague
– Paris: Mouton.
Hodge, Carleton T. 1991. "Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic." In Sydney
M. Lamb and E. Douglas Mitchell (editors), Sprung from Some Common
Source: Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages, Stanford,
California: Stanford University Press, 141–165.
Huehnergard, John. 2004. "Afro-Asiatic." In R.D. Woodard (editor), The
Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, Cambridge
– New York, 2004, 138–159.
Militarev, Alexander. "Towards the genetic affiliation of Ongota, a
nearly-extinct language of Ethiopia," 60 pp. In Orientalia et
Classica: Papers of the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies,
Issue 5. Moscow. (Forthcoming.)
Newman, Paul. 1980. The Classification of Chadic within Afroasiatic.
Leiden: Universitaire Pers Leiden.
Ruhlen, Merritt. 1991. A Guide to the World's Languages. Stanford,
California: Stanford University Press.
Sands, Bonny. 2009. "Africa’s linguistic diversity". In Language and
Afro-Asiatic at the Linguist List MultiTree Project (not functional as
of 2014): Genealogical trees attributed to Delafosse 1914, Greenberg
1950–1955, Greenberg 1963, Fleming 1976, Hodge 1976, Orel &
Stolbova 1995, Diakonoff 1996–1998, Ehret 1995–2000, Hayward 2000,
Militarev 2005, Blench 2006, and Fleming 2006
Afro-Asiatic and Semitic genealogical trees, presented by Alexander
Militarev at his talk "Genealogical classification of Afro-Asiatic
languages according to the latest data" at the conference on the 70th
anniversary of V.M. Illich-Svitych, Moscow, 2004; short annotations of
the talks given there (in Russian)
The prehistory of a dispersal: the Proto-Afrasian (Afroasiatic)
farming lexicon, by Alexander Militarev in "Examining the
Farming/Language Dispersal Hypothesis", eds. P. Bellwood & C.
Renfrew. (McDonald Institute Monographs.) Cambridge: McDonald
Institute for Archaeological Research, 2002, p. 135-50.
Once More About Glottochronology And The Comparative Method: The
Omotic-Afrasian case, by Alexander Militarev in "Aspects of
Comparative Linguistics", v. 1. Moscow: RSUH Publishers, 2005,
Root Extension And Root Formation In Semitic And Afrasian, by
Alexander Militarev in "Proceedings of the Barcelona Symposium on
comparative Semitic", 19-20/11/2004. Aula Orientalis 23/1-2, 2005,
Akkadian-Egyptian lexical matches, by Alexander Militarev in "Papers
on Semitic and Afroasiatic
v t e
Major Afroasiatic languages
Kabyle Riffian Shawiya Shilha Tuareg
Afar Beja Oromo Somali
Ancient Egyptian Coptic
Italics indicate extinct languages
v t e
List of primary language families
Afro-Asiatic Austronesian Khoe Kx'a Niger–Congo Nilo-Saharan? Tuu Mande? Songhay? Ijaw? Ubangian? Kadu?
Bangime Hadza Jalaa Sandawe Kwadi? Laal? Shabo?
Arab BANZSL French Lasima Tanzanian Others
Europe and Asia
Afro-Asiatic Ainu Austroasiatic Austronesian Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dravidian Eskimo–Aleut Great Andamanese Hmong–Mien Hurro-Urartian Indo-European Japonic Kartvelian Koreanic Mongolic Northeast Caucasian Northwest Caucasian Ongan Sino-Tibetan Tai–Kadai Tungusic Turkic Tyrsenian Uralic Yeniseian Yukaghir Dené–Yeniseian? Altaic? Austronesian–Ongan? Austro-Tai? Sino-Austronesian? Digaro? Kho-Bwa? Siangic? Miji? Vasconic?
Basque Burushaski Elamite Hattic Kusunda Nihali Nivkh Sumerian Hruso? Miju? Puroik?
BANZSL French German Japanese Swedish Chinese Indo-Pakistani Arab Chiangmai–Bangkok Others
New Guinea and the Pacific
Arai–Samaia Arafundi Austronesian Baining Binanderean–Goilalan Border Bulaka River Central Solomons Chimbu–Wahgi Doso–Turumsa East Geelvink Bay East Strickland Eleman Engan Fas Kaure–Kosare Kiwaian Kutubuan Kwomtari Lakes Plain Lower Mamberamo Lower Sepik Madang Mairasi North Bougainville Pauwasi Piawi Ramu Senagi Sentani Sepik Skou South Bougainville Teberan Tor–Kwerba–Nimboran Torricelli Trans-Fly Trans–New Guinea Turama–Kikorian West Papuan Yam Yawa Yuat North Papuan? Northeast New Guinea? Papuan Gulf?
Abinomn Anêm? Ata? Kol Kuot Porome Taiap? Pawaia Porome Sulka? Tambora Wiru
Hawai'i Sign Language Others
Arnhem/Macro-Gunwinyguan Bunuban Darwin River Eastern Daly Eastern Tasmanian Garawan Iwaidjan Jarrakan Mirndi Northern Tasmanian Northeastern Tasmanian Nyulnyulan Pama–Nyungan Southern Daly Tangkic Wagaydyic Western Daly Western Tasmanian Worrorran Yangmanic (Wardaman)
Giimbiyu Malak-Malak Marrgu Tiwi Wagiman
Algic Alsea Caddoan Chimakuan Chinookan Chumashan Comecrudan Coosan Eskimo–Aleut Iroquoian Kalapuyan Keresan Maiduan Muskogean Na-Dene Palaihnihan Plateau Penutian Pomoan Salishan Shastan Siouan Tanoan Tsimshianic Utian Uto-Aztecan Wakashan Wintuan Yokutsan Yukian Yuman–Cochimí Dené–Yeniseian? Hokan? Penutian?
Chimariko Haida Karuk Kutenai Seri Siuslaw Takelma Timucua Waikuri Washo Yana Yuchi Zuni
Inuit (Inuiuuk) Plains Sign Talk Others
Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Mixe–Zoque Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totonacan Uto-Aztecan Xincan Totozoquean?
Cuitlatec Huave Tarascan/Purépecha
Plains Sign Talk Mayan Others
Arawakan Arauan Araucanian Arutani–Sape Aymaran Barbacoan Boran Borôroan Cahuapanan Cariban Catacaoan Chapacuran Charruan Chibchan Choco Chonan Guaicuruan Guajiboan Jê/Gê Harákmbut–Katukinan Jirajaran Jivaroan Kariri Katembri–Taruma Mascoian Matacoan Maxakalian Nadahup Nambikwaran Otomákoan Pano-Tacanan Peba–Yaguan Purian Quechuan Piaroa–Saliban Ticuna–Yuri Timotean Tiniguan Tucanoan Tupian Uru–Chipaya Witotoan Yabutian Yanomaman Zamucoan Zaparoan Chimuan? Esmeralda–Yaruro? Hibito–Cholón? Lule–Vilela? Macro-Jê? Tequiraca–Canichana?
Isolates (extant in 2000)
Aikanã? Alacalufan Andoque? Camsá Candoshi Chimane Chiquitano Cofán? Fulniô Guató Hodï/Joti Irantxe? Itonama Karajá Krenak Kunza Leco Maku-Auari of Roraima Movima Mura-Pirahã Nukak? Ofayé Puinave Huaorani/Waorani Trumai Urarina Warao Yamana Yuracaré
Language isolates Unclassified languages Creoles Pidgins Mixed languages Artificial languages List of sign languages
Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics have no living members.
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