The most populous languages are in the Ta-Arawakan (Ta-Maipurean) group: Wayuu, with about 300,000 speakers, and Garífuna, with about 100,000 speakers. The Campa group is next; Asháninca or Campa proper has 15–18,000 speakers, and Ashéninca 18–25,000. After that probably comes Terêna, with 10,000 speakers, and Yanesha' with 6–8,000.
The classification of Maipurean is difficult due to the large number of languages which are extinct and poorly documented. However, apart from transparent relationships which might constitute single languages, there are several groups of Maipurean languages which are generally accepted. Many classifications agree in dividing Maipurean into northern and southern branches, though perhaps not all languages fit into one or the other. The three classifications below all accept:
- Ta-Maipurean = Caribbean Arawak / Ta-Arawak = Caribbean Maipuran,
- Upper Amazon Maipurean = North Amazonian Arawak = Inland Maipuran,
- Central Maipurean = Pareci–Xingu = Paresí–Waurá = Central Maipuran,
- Piro = Purus,
- Campa = Pre-Andean Maipurean = Pre-Andine Maipuran.
An early contrast between Ta-Arawak and Nu-Arawak, depending on the prefix for "I", is spurious; nu- is the ancestral form for the entire family, whereas ta- is an innovation of one branch of the family.
Read more about this topic: Maipurean Languages
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