This paper aims to shed some light on the noun-verb distinction in Kanakanavu and Saaroa through a reassessment of their pronominal systems. For both Kanakanavu and Saaroa, we propose two sets of genitive pronouns, the first encoding nonsubject actors, and the second possessors. The characteristics of these pronoun sets differ in the two languages, but their morphosyntactic behavior allows us to make a distinction between nouns and verbs in each language.

In Kanakanavu, first and second genitive pronouns do not show any distinction in form (though they differ in terms of distribution) when they encode a nonsubject actor or a possessor; in the third person, there are asymmetrical properties in distribution between the two distinct genitive pronouns =ke and -ini. In Saaroa, on the other hand, among genitive pronouns encoding nonsubject actors, there is an asymmetry between first person genitive pronouns (singular and plural) as opposed to second and third person pronouns. While first person genitive pronouns occur as enclitics, second and third person genitive pronouns occur as proclitics.