East New Britain
EthnicityBaining people
Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families

The East New Britain languages are a possible small language family spoken on the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. They were classified as East Papuan languages by Wurm, but this does not now seem tenable. The only comparative work that has been done between the two branches of the proposed family is Ross (2001), which shows similarities in the pronouns.


The languages are:[citation needed]

Makolkol is unattested.

Glottolog does not accept that a connection between the two branches has been demonstrated.[1] Stebbins et al. (2018) note that further work needs to be done, and are uncertain how to explain the similarity in pronouns between the two families with the fact that the ancestors of the Taulil and Butam people had migrated from New Ireland and so presumably would have their closest relatives there.[2]


The pronouns Ross (2001) compares for East New Britain are as follows.

1sg 2sg 3msg 3fsg 1pl 2pl 3pl 1du 2du 3du
proto-ENB *ŋ(u)a *ŋi(a) *a *E *(d)udu *ŋan(i) *ta *Nun *(y)u *i
Baining free ŋua ŋia ka ki uut ŋen ta~ra uun uin ian~iam
poss. gua gia aa
Taulil free sbj ŋa ŋi aa e daa yaa taa ŋu yu i~ip (3mdu), vitam (3fdu)
free obj ŋaaŋ ŋiŋ aa e undu ŋan taa ŋun yu ip (3mdu), vitam (3fdu)
poss. ŋa ŋi vaa ve du ina ina~ta ŋunu yu ip (3mdu), ito (3fdu)
Butam free ŋa ŋi a e ur ŋan ta~ra un yu ip
poss. ŋaŋ ŋiŋ vat vet (r)uru ŋan (i)ra (n)un ... ip

See also


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Baining". Glottolog 4.3.
  2. ^ Stebbins, Tonya; Evans, Bethwyn; Terrill, Angela (2018). "The Papuan languages of Island Melanesia". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 775–894. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • Dunn, Michael; Angela Terrill; Ger Reesink; Robert A. Foley; Stephen C. Levinson (2005). Structural Phylogenetics and the Reconstruction of Ancient Language History. Science magazine, 23 Sept. 2005, vol. 309, p 2072.
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages." In: Andrew Pawley, Robert Attenborough, Robin Hide and Jack Golson, eds, Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples, 15-66. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.