Grand Valley Dani
Native toIndonesia
RegionHighlands of Irian Jaya
Native speakers
(90,000 cited 1990–1996)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
dni – Lower
dnt – Mid
dna – Upper
hap – Hupla

Grand Valley Dani, or simply Dani,[2] is one of the most populous Papuan languages in Indonesian New Guinea (also known as Papua). The Dani people live in the Baliem Valley of the Western Highlands.


Dialectical differentiation is great enough that Ethnologue assigns separate codes to three varieties:

Lower Grand Valley Dani contains subdialects Lower Grand Valley Hitigima (Dani-Kurima, Kurima), Upper Bele, Lower Bele, Lower Kimbin (Kibin), and Upper Pyramid. Hupla, traditionally considered a separate language, is closer to Lower Grand Valley than the varieties of Grand Valley Dani are to each other.


The phonology of the Central Grand Valley Dani language:[3]

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricative s h
Lateral l
Semivowel w j
front central back
high close i u
ɪ ʊ
mid e o
low a


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2022)


Verbs in Grand Valley Dani are rich in verb tenses.

Non-finite tenses

Infinitive -in

Finite tenses

Singular Plural
First Second Third First Second Third
Future Near -ikin -ukun
Indefinite -isikin -isukun
Past Near -hy -hen -he -ho -hep -hem
Remote -hyky -heken -hikhe -huku -hikip -hukha
Perfect -hytik -hettik -hesik -hosik -hesip -hasik
Habitual Main -hytek -hettek -hetek -hotek -hesep -hatek
Perfect -hytesik -hettesik -hetesik -hotesik -hetesip -hatesik
Progressive -hylahy -hylaken -iako -hylako -hylakep -iakoei


The Dani language differentiates only two basic colours, mili for cool/dark shades such as blue, green, and black, and mola for warm/light colours such as red, yellow, and white. This trait makes it an interesting field of research for language psychologists, such as Eleanor Rosch, investigating the Whorf hypothesis.


  1. ^ Lower at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Mid at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Upper at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Hupla at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Compare Lani
  3. ^ Nijhoff, Martinus (1966). Outline of Dani Morphology (PDF). Van Het Koninklijk Instituut Voor Taal-, Land- En Volkenkunde. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 22, 2019.