Traditionally, Mapudungun, the Mapuche language, has been considered an isolated language, not directly related to any other language in the southern cone (Lenz 1886:XXII).
For Englers (1936:80), there is a relation, although distant, between the Mapuche, the Quechua and the Aymara world.
According to standard classification, The Mapuche belong to the Araucano sub-family (Araucano family Chon), of the Andean group, Andean-equatorial branch.
Other authors, as Stark and Hams, have genetically linked the Mapuches with the Mayans.
Mary Kay sustains that the Mapuche people are kin to the tacano-panoas of Peru and Bolivia. Payne has said that there is a link to the Arawak families of the equatorial group, Andean equatorial branch.
Several theories deal with the relation between Mapudungun and other languages. According to standard classification, The Mapuche belong to the Araucano sub-family (Araucano family Chon) of the Andean group, Andean-equatorial branch. Authors as Tovar (1961) suggest that Mapudungun belongs to the type II Andean group, along with languages such as Quechua, Ayamara, Aonikenk (Tewelche), Sel´knam (ona) and Yagán.
Luisa Stark relates Mapudungun to the Maya Language.
Payne, in 1984, speaks of a kinship between Mapudungun and the languages of the Arawak family, of the equatorial group, corresponding to the Andean- equatorial branch.