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Macro-Chibchan languages
Macro-Chibchan is a proposed grouping of the languages of the Lencan, Misumalpan, and Chibchan families into a single large phylum (macrofamily).
Macro-Chibchan
(controversial)
Geographic
distribution
Central America and Colombia
Linguistic classificationProposed language family
Subdivisions
GlottologNone

The Chibchan, Misumalpan, and Lencan languages
History
The Lencan and Misumalpan languages were once included in the Chibchan family proper, but were excluded pending further evidence as that family became well established. Kaufman (1990) finds the Chibchan–Misumalpan connection convincing, if as yet unsubstantiated, though Campbell (1997) finds it doubtful. The Xincan family was once included in Macro-Chibchan, but this is now doubtful.
Constenla (2005) calls this proposed phylum Lenmichí (Lencan–Misumalpan–Chibchan) and provides 85 cognate sets which exhibit regular sound correspondences among the three families. He suggests that Chocoan may be related as well.
Greenberg proposed a broader conception of Macro-Chibchan, one dismissed by linguists working on the families in question. It included Yanomam, Purépecha, and Cuitlatec in addition to Chibchan–Misumalpan–Xinca–Lenca. Greenberg (1987) included Paezan languages in a Chibchan-Paezan stock with Barbacoan, Chibchan, Chocoan, Jirajaran, and the isolates Betoi, Kamsá (Sibundoy), Yaruro, Esmeraldeño, Mochica, Cunza, Itonama, and Yurumanguí.
An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013)[1] also found lexical similarities between Chibchan and Misumalpan. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.
Reconstruction
Phylogenetic tree for Macro-Chibchan (Lenmichian) languages.
Constenla (2005) reconstructed five vowels and eleven consonants for Proto-Lenmichian, with the following reflexes:
Vowels
Proto-Lenmichian*a*e*i*o*u
Proto-Chibchan*a*e*i*o*u
Proto-Lencan*a *e*e*i*o *u*u
Proto-Misumalpan*a*i*i*u*u
There are also a series[clarification needed] of nasal vowels.
Consonants
Proto-Lenmichian*b*d*t*k*ts*s*h*l*w
Proto-Chibchan*b*d*t*k*ts*s*h
Proto-Lencan*p
*m
*l
*n
*t*k*ts'*l*w
Proto-Misumalpan*b
*p
*m
*d
*n
*t*k*s*l*w
References
^ Müller, André, Viveka Velupillai, Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Eric W. Holman, Sebastian Sauppe, Pamela Brown, Harald Hammarström, Oleg Belyaev, Johann-Mattis List, Dik Bakker, Dmitri Egorov, Matthias Urban, Robert Mailhammer, Matthew S. Dryer, Evgenia Korovina, David Beck, Helen Geyer, Pattie Epps, Anthony Grant, and Pilar Valenzuela. 2013. ASJP World Language Trees of Lexical Similarity: Version 4 (October 2013).
Last edited on 6 May 2021, at 11:05
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