This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in Portuguese. (May 2022) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Portuguese article. Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 1,373 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Portuguese Wikipedia article at [[:pt:Língua ekari]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|pt|Língua ekari)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
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Native toIndonesia
Native speakers
(100,000 cited 1985)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ekg
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A view of Moanemani, Papua
A view of Moanemani, Papua

Ekari (also Ekagi, Kapauku, Mee) is a Trans–New Guinea language spoken by about 100,000 people in the Paniai lakes region of the Indonesian province of Papua, including the villages of Enarotali, Mapia and Moanemani. This makes it the second-most populous Papuan language in Indonesian New Guinea after Western Dani. Language use is vigorous. Documentation is quite limited.



Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n
Plosive plain p t k
voiced b d ɡᶫ
Approximant w j

The voiced velar stop (ɡᶫ) is pronounced with lateral release. Doble (1987) describes both /k/ and /ɡᶫ/ as being labialized [kʷ, ɡᶫʷ] after the back vowels /o, u/ (i.e. okei 'they', euga 'more'), with g having 'varying' degrees of the lateral.[2] Staroverov & Tebay (2019) describe /ɡᶫ/ as being velar lateral [ɡᶫ] before front vowels and uvular non-lateral [ɢʶ] before non-front vowels. When lateral, there is usually a stop onset, but occasionally just [ʟ] is heard.[3]

/j/ is a 'more palatalized [ʒ]' (perhaps [ʝ] or [ʑ]) before the high front vowel /i/ (i.e. yina 'insect').[2]


Both Doble (1987) and Staroverov & Tebay (2019) describe five vowel qualities. Long vowels and diphthongs are analyzed as sequences.

front central back
high i u
mid ɛ o
low a


Ekari has pitch accent. One syllable in a word may have a high tone, contrasting with words without a high tone. If the vowel is long or a diphthong and not at the end of the word, the high tone is phonetically rising.

CV words have no tone contrast. CVV words may be mid/low or high. (In all of these patterns, here and following, initial C is optional.)

Words of the following shapes may have a contrastive high tone on the final syllable: CVCV, CVCVV. Words of the following shapes may have either a rising or a falling tone on the first long syllable: CVVCV, CVVCVV, CVCVVCVV, CVVCVCV (rare), CVVCVCVV (rare). The following word shapes do not have contrastive tone: CVCVCV, CVCVVCV, CVCVCVV, and words of 4 or more syllables.


  1. ^ Ekari at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Doble (1987)
  3. ^ Staroverov, Peter; Tebay, Sören E. (2019), "Posterior Affricate in Mee and Consonant-Vowel Place Interactions", Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Meetings on Phonology, vol. 7, doi:10.3765/amp.v7i0.4481


Materials on Ekari are included in the open access Arthur Capell collections held by Paradisec: