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East Papuan
(obsolete)
Geographic
distribution
Melanesia
Linguistic classificationProposed language family
Subdivisions
GlottologNone

The East Papuan languages is a defunct proposal for a family of Papuan languages spoken on the islands to the east of New Guinea, including New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, and the Santa Cruz Islands. There is no evidence that these languages are related to each other, and the Santa Cruz languages are no longer recognized as Papuan.

All but two of the starred languages below (Yélî Dnye and Sulka) make a gender distinction in their pronouns. Several of the heavily Papuanized Austronesian languages of New Britain do as well. This suggests a pre-Austronesian language area in the region.

History of the proposal

The East Papuan languages were proposed as a family by linguist Stephen Wurm (1975) and others. However, their work was preliminary, and there is little evidence that the East Papuan languages actually have a genetic relationship. For example, none of these fifteen languages marked with asterisks below share more than 2–3% of their basic vocabulary with any of the others. Dunn and colleagues (2005) tested the reliability of the proposed 2–3% cognates by randomizing the vocabulary lists and comparing them again. The nonsense comparisons produced the same 2–3% of "shared" vocabulary, demonstrating that the proposed cognates of the East Papuan languages, and even of proposed families within the East Papuan languages, are as likely to be due to chance as to any genealogical relationship. Thus in a conservative classification, many of the East Papuan languages would be considered language isolates.

Since the islands in question have been settled for at least 35 000 years, their considerable linguistic diversity is unsurprising. However, Malcolm Ross (2001; 2005) has presented evidence from comparing pronouns from nineteen of these languages that several of the lower-level branches of East Papuan may indeed be valid families. This is the classification adopted here. For Wurm's more inclusive classification, see the Ethnologue entry here.

Classification (Ross 2005)

Small families

Each of the first five entries in boldface is an independent language family, not known to be related to the others. Languages that are transparently related to each other are listed together on the same line. The first family is a more tentative proposal than the others and awaits confirmation.

Reconstructed pronoun sets for each of the families are given in the individual articles.

Yélî Dnye (Yele)* (Rossel Island)

 West  New Britain 

Anêm* (New Britain)

Ata (Pele-Ata, Wasi)* (New Britain)

Baining: Mali*, Qaqet, Kairak, Simbali, Ura, Makolkol

Taulil–Butam: Taulil**, Butam (extinct)**

Keriaka

Konua (Rapoisi)**

Rotokas: Rotokas*, Eivo

 Buin 

Buin*

Motuna (Siwai)*

Uisai

Nasioi: Koromira, Lantanai, Naasioi*, Nagovisi (Sibe)**, Oune, Simeku

Bilua* (Vella Lavella Island)

Touo (Baniata)* (southern Rendova Island, part of the New Georgia Islands)

Lavukaleve* (Russell Islands)

Savosavo* (Savo Island)

* Dunn and colleagues found no demonstrable shared vocabulary between these fifteen languages.

** Ross considered these four languages in addition to the fifteen studied by Dunn and colleagues.

True language isolates

These three languages are not thought to be demonstrably related to each other or to any language in the world.

* Dunn and colleagues found no demonstrable shared vocabulary between these fifteen languages.

Austronesian languages formerly classified as East Papuan

Wurm classified the three languages of the Santa Cruz and Reef Islands as an additional family within East Papuan. However, new data on these languages, along with advances in the reconstruction of Proto-Oceanic, has made it clear that they are in fact Austronesian:

Similarly, Wurm had classified the extinct Kazukuru language and its possible sister languages of New Georgia as a sixth branch of East Papuan. However, in a joint 2007 paper, Dunn and Ross argued that this was also Austronesian.

Lexical comparison

The tables below give lexical comparisons for the East Papuan languages (i.e., all Papuan languages spoken in New Britain and islands to the east), with languages listed roughly from west to east. All lexical items are from the Trans-New Guinea database[1] unless noted otherwise.

Body parts
family language head hair ear eye nose tooth tongue leg blood bone skin breast
isolate Ata[2] sangalie iei usine'i anaxu ilaanu (anaxu = 'mouth') levexe tava'a sialuxu xine vasime'a susu
isolate Anêm[3] og ki gêt ei piŋi lo êlêŋ ti 'foot' esin exe palau
isolate Kol 'kel.a; kela keřne 'komɒ; komɔʔ kalɛane 'bula; bula kɛřlɛ pelnɛl; 'penel ta'li:; tali keřne 'mire; mi̠řɛ kɛřnɛ dal kɛřnɛ; raal pe:re 'be:la 'ti:le tomalu gomo; to'molu 'tombo; to̠to la̠nɛ
isolate Sulka[4] lpek ngiris ngaela vorngap ɨndiɨl ptaik
Baining Mali (Arambum dialect) uʷʌski ǥʌsɛŋ asdɛmgi saǥoŋ ulɩmgi ǥɛŋ ǥɔbɩnga aǥař abⁱʌska atlɨp ŋᶺndᶺŋ ǥumukʰ
Baining Qaget niŋaǥa; ʌ niŋʌg̶ʌ aǥsiŋ; ʌg̶asiŋ asⁿdəmgi; sᵊdᵊmki ʌ rʌsʌkŋiʌm; saknaǥa ǥəřɩmki; ʌ rʌg̶ʌrimgi ařkiŋ; ařkingi ǥalbiⁿka; og̶lbinga ʌ laiŋyat; ɩlaⁱŋ ʌg̶ʌřʌkʌ; ǥᵊřᵊka lan; sləpki ǥət·dinki; ʌrʌgʌtdəŋit ǥomʌk; og̶əmək
Baining Ura amʌ niŋʌǥi; auwʌski; ʌmʌ niŋʌǥɩ aɣʌsɛŋ; kʌsiŋ; kʌsɩŋ asdʌmgi; dʌsdəmgɩ; dʌsdəmgi asauɣoŋ; ʌ̂ sʌǥon; ʌ sʌǥoŋ awʌlyʌmgi; ʌ ǥulimgɩ; ʌ ǥulimgi atkiŋgi; ʌ ǥʌřʌ; naeyɛŋ; næyɛŋ aɣuebunga; duɛbingʌ ʌgʌřʌ a biaska; biʌskʌ a Lləp; ʌ Lləp; o slʌpki aslɩɣɩge; ʌ sliyɩgɛ; ʌ sliyigɛ at gəmuk; atkʌmuk
Taulil–Butam Taulil 'ulun 'dɔmɔn ul-tʌŋʌn 'kɔlmʌřɩn 'bulsun 'lɩgim; lɩkɩn ul-kɛmɛn fʌn dɛh 'suhnʌ 'kunʌ pʰʌlkⁿeⁱn; pʰʌlɩn susun
isolate Kuot bukom kapuruma kikinəm irəma akabunima; ŋof laukima məlobiem oləbuan muanəm kumalip; neip; pəppək sisima
North Bougainville Rotokas[5] uvu orui uvareoua osireito iruvaoto reuri arevuoto kokotoa revasiva kerua areiua; kakauoa; gago rorooua
South Bougainville proto-South Bougainville[6] *bore *rome *rutɔ *keni *meneŋ *ereŋ *kōna
Central Solomons Mbilua (Ndovele dialect) lezu tou taliŋa vilu ŋgame taka leño kiti ndara piza tupu susu
Central Solomons Mbaniata (Lokuru dialect) zufu ōŋgoto mberɔ emɔ nāne ānl ɔe vo minu zuɔna susu
Central Solomons Lavukaleve vatu memea hovul lemi sisi neo let tau furime ravu sosokio keut ɔfu
Central Solomons Savosavo batu luta; sivuɰa tagalu nito ɲoko nale lapi ɰabu tovolo korakora susu
isolate Yélî Dnye[7] ny:oo gh:aa ngweńe ngwolo ń:uu nyóó dêê yi wêê dînê too ngmo
Nature
family language louse dog pig bird egg tree sun moon water fire stone path
isolate Ata meni a'aa memee ngiala atolu aiinu; ovu aso so'io lexa navu lavo'o vote'i
isolate Anem seim kaua êknîn nil ado klîŋ komu kmî pa iuŋ
isolate Kol 'tare; ta̠řɛ ku'ɒ:; kwa bu 'ule; ulɛ 'kondola; kondo̠la 'ti:nel; ti̠nɛl 'karege; kařɛ̠qɛ 'igu; i̠qu 'gonu; qu̠nu ku'oŋ; kuɔŋ 'lela; lɛla kɛrɛa; 'keria
isolate Sulka ngaining ho yi ngaelot, ngaelaut
Baining Mali (Arambum dialect) it imga ƀɛmgaʰ i sʌmga la ŋumuŋ ʷunɛŋga 'aǥɔngi řiŋgi mudʌmbʌs diǥa iskaʰ
Baining Qaget ᶩaⁱt; ʌ ɛɛtki daŋka; ʌ dʌŋgʌ ƀiləmgʌ; ƀlam waⁱṱki; ʌ wʌitka luaǥa; ʌ luʌg̶ʌ mʌŋkʰa; munkʌ ʌ niřag̶a; niřaǥa; nɩlaǥa yaǥunki; ʌ yɔg̶ungi ǥřapki; ʌ kʌinʌg̶i altiŋki; ʌltiŋgi ʌ dulkʌ; dulka aiskʌ; aⁱska
Baining Ura məaᶥt; məaⁱt; ɩr̰aɩt imga; mɛmgʌ ƀɩɛmgʌ; ƀiɛmgʌ; wemga ɛɛ'sumgʌ; ɛɛsumgʌ; isʌmga duřaiṱ; duřaᶥt̯; luaɣa ʌ muŋgʌ; ŋʌmuga ɣunʌga; wunʌgʌ yaǥunǥɩ; yaɣungi; yʌǥungi mʌřiŋgi; mʌřɩŋgɩ; rigi mundʌbʌs; mundʌm duɩɣa; mʌ duɩ; mʌ dui iska; mʌiskʌ; mʌɩskʌ
Taulil–Butam Taulil huᵗ luf bui sɩgʌʔ 'kʰɔřɔl waⁱ wʌsuʔ 'kɛᵐbɛn 'mʌlum yʌf fʌᵗ ŋas
isolate Kuot ineima kapuna amani; kobeŋ dəkər; səgər panbinim uləŋ burunəm; danuot kit adəs alaŋ
North Bougainville Rotokas iirui kaakau; kevira koie; koue kokioto takura evaova ravireo kekira uukoa tuitui aveke raiva
South Bougainville proto-South Bougainville *masika *bɔrege *koi *rua *doŋ
Central Solomons Mbilua (Ndovele dialect) sipi; tiŋgau siele mbiaŋambiaŋa tɔruru kamboso nĵu uza lando keve
Central Solomons Mbaniata (Lokuru dialect) lisa; vutu sie mānozo āndena īndi fiɔ hirɔ hɛŋga e
Central Solomons Lavukaleve kea; lai mitakeu malaɣul keruv kua lafi lake mbeko; veko lake
Central Solomons Savosavo dole misu kosu kolei; si kuɰe piva keda kato keva
isolate Yélî Dnye y:emê wee w:ââ mbwêmê ńmê; ńmo w:uu yi kââdî d:ââ mbwaa; tolo ndê; ndyuw:e chêêpî maa
Miscellaneous
family language man woman name to eat one two
isolate Ata aliko sema uala ’ie vile tamei
isolate Anem axaŋ dobalîŋ eŋi mîdê niak
isolate Kol mo; tɒ: 'ti:niŋ daiƀɛ; ra:l 'ole mo raŋ kal oŋ; tam·a 'pusuɒ; titus tɛřɛŋ; te'tepe
isolate Sulka mhel 'person'
Baining Mali (Arambum dialect) umʌska aƀopᵊkin ŋʌrɩpkiʰ katɨs sɛgɨkʰ udion
Baining Qaget ǥʷatka; ʌ g̶wʌtkʌ nanki; ʌ nʌngi dʸiʌringi namgi; řɨnki ka tɨs; kʌ tᵊs ǥʷanaska; og̶unʌskʌ ǥʷanasⁱam; og̶unʌsiʌm
Baining Ura gamoɛɣa; gʌmuɛgʌ ɛwəpkɩ; ɛwəpki; Ewopki diŋyiřipki; diŋyɩrɩpkɩ; ŋʌr̰iþki ɣat tʌs; ka ts; kʌ tᵊs sɩgʌk; sʌgʌk; sigʌk undiom; undɩom
Taulil–Butam Taulil bʌᵏ; taⁱ lʌᵘ 'wɔᵘsɩn ŋʌnɩʔ; nʌm ikʌᵘ; kaᵘkʌʔ 'daU; iⁿdʌᵘ
isolate Kuot mikana; teima makabun bonim o; parak namurit narain
North Bougainville Rotokas rare pie avuo vaisia aio katai erao
South Bougainville proto-South Bougainville *nugaŋ *mīŋ *nai
Central Solomons Mbilua (Ndovele dialect) mamba reko ŋi vuato mandeu omuŋga
Central Solomons Mbaniata (Lokuru dialect) finɔzɔ ŋgohe nini azafe āroŋo; thufi ēri
Central Solomons Lavukaleve ali aira laŋi eu; eui; oune dom; tetelom lelal; lemal
Central Solomons Savosavo tada adaki nini l-ou; samu ela; pade edo
isolate Yélî Dnye pi kumbwada; pyââ pi ma ngmidi miyó

See also

References

  1. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  2. ^ Hashimoto, Kazuo (2008). Ata-English Dictionary with English-Ata Finderlist. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  3. ^ Thurston, William. 1982. A comparative study of Anêm and Lusi. Pacific Linguistics: Series B, 83. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.
  4. ^ Tharp, Douglas. 1996. Sulka grammar essentials. In John M. Clifton (ed.), Two non-Austronesian grammars from the islands, 77-179. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  5. ^ Firchow, Irwin B. and Jacqueline Firchow, compilers. 2008. Rotokas-English dictionary. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  6. ^ Evans, Bethwyn. 2009. Beyond pronouns: further evidence for South Bougainville. In Bethwyn Evans (ed.), Discovering history through language: Papers in honour of Malcolm Ross, 73-101. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.
  7. ^ Henderson, James E. and Anne Henderson, compilers. 1999. Rossel to English, English to Rossel Dictionary. Dictionaries of Papua New Guinea, Vol. 9. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.