Foja Range
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationNorthwest Papuan?
  • Foja Range

The Foja Range languages, or Tor–Kwerba in more limited scope, are a family of about two dozen Papuan languages. They are named after the Foja Mountains of western New Guinea.


All the languages had been part of Stephen Wurm's 1975 Trans–New Guinea proposal, but he did not recognize them as a unit, retaining Kwerba within Capell's 1962 Dani–Kwerba proposal, for example. Foley (2018) classifies the Orya–Tor and Kwerbic languages together, as Tor–Kwerba.[1] Usher (2020) adds Nimboran and Mawes, naming the expanded family Foja Range, after the Foja mountain range[2] that passes through all four branches of the family.[3]

Typological overview

Even though grammatical gender is present in Tor-Kwerba languages, there is no overt gender marking on nouns.[1]


Reconstructed proto-Tor-Kwerba independent pronouns are:[1]

Proto-Tor-Kwerba independent pronouns
sg pl
1 *ati ~ *ait *ne(n)
2 *ame *ame


Reconstructed proto-Tor-Kwerba words that are widely distributed throughout the family (Foley 2018):[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". 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. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  2. ^ "Foja" is the Dutch spelling, often rendered "Foya" in English, so one might expect that in modern Indonesian orthography it would be "Foya" as well. However, the Indonesian spelling remains "Foja", as it was before the spelling reform. Thus the "j" may be pronounced as either an English "y" or an English "j".
  3. ^ "New Guinea World". Archived from the original on 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  • 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. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.