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The languages of the Pano and Takana families exhibit a considerable number of lexical and structural affinities that cannot be ascribed to mere chance and are not readily detectable instances of borrowing. After the comparative studies by Key (1968) and Girard (1971) the proposal of a genetic relationship between these two families was generally accepted (e.g. Loos 1973, 2005; Suárez 1973; Kaufman 1990; Campbell 1997). Without solid argumentation, however, this classification was later put into question (Fabre 1998; Loos 1999; Fleck 2013) and, even today, there is no full consensus as to whether the observed similarities are due to genetic inheritance or long-term language contact. The present paper offers lexical and grammatical evidence in support of the hypothesis that Pano and Takana are genetically connected. Comparing for the first time what can be considered Proto-Pano and Proto-Takana reconstructions, it is shown that 18 of the 40 items in the basic vocabulary list proposed by the Automated Similarity Judgment Program (asjp) (Holman et al. 2008) might be cognate; this includes 9 body-part terms. Also, a set of alleged grammatical cognates are assembled, and shared constructions involving motion verbal morphology, intransive and transitive auxiliaries, transitivity harmony restrictions, and switch-reference are discussed.


This article was originally published in LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, volume 23, in 2023.

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