|Digul watershed, New Guinea|
|Linguistic classification||Trans–New Guinea|
Map: The Awyu–Dumut languages of New Guinea
The Awyu–Dumut languages (other languages not shown)
Other Trans–New Guinea languages
Other Papuan languages
The Greater Awyu or Digul River languages, known in earlier classifications with more limited scope as Awyu–Dumut (Awyu–Ndumut), are a family of perhaps a dozen Trans–New Guinea languages spoken in eastern West Papua in the region of the Digul River. Six of the languages are sufficiently attested for a basic description; it is not clear how many of the additional names (in parentheses below) may be separate languages.
The Awyu (pronounced like English Ow you) and Awyu–Dumut families were identified by Peter Drabbe in the 1950s.
Voorhoeve included them in his proposed Central and South New Guinea group. As part of Central and South New Guinea, they form part of the original proposal for Trans–New Guinea.
The classification below is based on Usher and de Vries et al. (2012), who used morphological innovations to determine relatedness, which can be obscured by lexical loanwords.
Sawi is classified on pronominal data, as the morphological data used for the rest of the family is not available.
Pawley and Hammarström (2018) exclude Awbono-Bayono, treating it as a separate family.
Various other languages can be found in the literature. Ario (Sumagaxe) is listed in Wurm, Foley, etc., but not in the University of Amsterdam survey and has been dropped by Ethnologue. Ethnologue lists a 'Central Awyu', but this is not attested as a distinct language (U. Amsterdam). In general, the names in Ethnologue are quite confused, and older editions speak of names from Wurm (1982), such as Mapi, Kia, Upper Digul, Upper Kaeme, which are names of language surveys along the rivers of those names, and may actually refer to Ok languages rather than to Awyu.
van den Heuvel & Fedden (2014) argue that Greater Awyu and Greater Ok are not genetically related, but that their similarities are due to intensive contact.
|Reconstruction of||Greater Awyu languages|
Usher (2020) reconstructs "perhaps" 15 consonants and 8 vowels, as follows:
Usher (2020) reconstructs the pronouns as:
Ross (2005) reconstructs the pronouns of the Awyu–Dumut branch as follows:
|3||*e-p, *[n]ege-p, *yu-p||*ya-gu-p|
The suffix *-p and the change of the final TNG *a vowel to *u do not appear in the possessive pronouns: *na, *ga, *ya/wa, *na-ga, *ga-ga, *ya-ga.
The following selected reconstructions of Proto-Awyu-Dumut, Proto-Awyu, and Proto-Dumut by Voorhoeve are from Healey (1970) & Voorhoeve (2000), as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:
|head||*kɑibɑn; *xaiban||*xaiban; *xɑibɑn||*kɑbiɑn; *kebian|
|hair||*möxö; *muk; *ron||*mox; *mux; *ron||*mökö-ron; *muk; *ron|
|tongue||*fɔgat; *fɔgɛt; *pogɑt||*fagɛ; *fɑge||*ogat; *pɑgɑt|
|louse||*gut||*go; *gu; *ɑgu||*gut|
|dog||*angay; *ɑgɑi; *set||*sɛ; *(y)ange; *(y)angi; *yɑgi||*agay; *ɑgɑi; *tit|
|skin||*kɑt; *xa(t)||*xɑ; *xa||*kotay; *kɑtɑy|
|breast||*ɑm; *om||*om; **om||*om; *ɔm|
|woman||*ran; *rɑn||*ran; *rɑn||*ran; *rɑn|
|name||*füp; *pip||*fi||*fip; *üp|
|eat||*ɑde; *en; *ɛn-||*ɑde-; *en; *ɛn-||*ɑde; *en; *en-|
|two||*rumo; *rumon||*okorumon; **ok=rumɔ(n)||*irumon; *rumo|
Some lexical reconstructions of Proto-Digul River and lower-level reconstructions by Usher (2020) are:
|gloss||Proto-Digul River||Sawuy||Proto-North Digul||Proto-Central Digul|
|tongue||*te̝p||seːp ~ seɸ||*te̝p|
See also: Kaeti language § Evolution
Greater Awyu reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:
Mandobo Atas language: