Although Pawaia has reflexes of proto-Trans–New Guinea vocabulary, Ross considers its inclusion questionable on available evidence. Usher classifies it instead with the Teberan languages. Noting insufficient evidence, Pawley and Hammarström (2018) leave it as unclassified rather than as part of Trans-New Guinea.
Pawley and Hammarström (2018) do not consider there to be sufficient evidence for Pawaia to be classified as part of Trans-New Guinea, though they do note the following lexical resemblances between Pawaia and proto-Trans-New Guinea.
^ abPawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 21–196. ISBN978-3-11-028642-7.
Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN0858835622. OCLC67292782.