Peba–Yaguan languages

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Yawan, Peban
western Amazon
Linguistic classification: Saparo–Yawan ?
  • Peba–Yaguan
Glottolog: peba1241[1]

The Peba–Yaguan language family (also Yaguan, Peban, Yáwan) is located in the northwestern Amazon, but today Yagua is the only remaining spoken language of the family.

The linguist Paul Rivet suggested that the Peba–Yaguan family divided into two branches, with Yameo in one branch, and Peba and Yagua in the other. There is extremely little documentation of Yameo and Peba, both of which are now extinct, though the town Pebas on the Amazon River clearly takes its name from this group of people. The available documentation is largely due to the efforts of early Catholic missionaries, summarized by Paul Rivet.





There is no sound scientific evidence yet that the Peba–Yaguan family is related to any other family or stock of South America (in particular, there is no evidence for grouping it with Cariban languages). There has likely been contact between the Yaguas and Bora–Witotoan peoples, perhaps particularly during the era of the rubber-trade; this may account for some structural similarities between the languages (Payne, forthcoming). Kaufman (2007) includes Sabela, Taushiro, and Omurano in his Yawan family.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Peba–Yagua". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>