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This paper applies the comparative method to unravel the historical development of the segmental phonology of Paunaka, an Arawakan language of Bolivia. Although the Paunaka vowel system features a single back rounded vowel, it is rather simple to show that it derives from a system with two back rounded qualities *u and *o, but that the former segment shifted to a high central unrounded vowel ɨ. The language has lost *r unconditionally, implying that Paunaka items with r are probable loanwords.doi:10.1590/1981.81222018000200008 fatcat:vm6j5wcplnb5hf7r3dfbmnxzta