RegionWestern Province, Papua New Guinea
Native speakers
800 (1998)[1]
Trans–New Guinea or unclassified
Language codes
ISO 639-3xla
Kamula language.svg
Map: The Kamula language of New Guinea
  The Kamula language
  Other Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages
Coordinates: 6°57′07″S 142°39′17″E / 6.951833°S 142.654804°E / -6.951833; 142.654804 (Kasigi)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  Download coordinates as: KML

Kamula (Kamira, Wawoi) is a Trans–New Guinea language that is unclassified within that family in the classification of Malcolm Ross (2005). Noting insufficient evidence, Pawley and Hammarström (2018) leave it as unclassified.[2]


Kamula is spoken in two widely separated areas,[2]: 80  including in Kamiyami village of the Wawoi Falls area in Bamu Rural LLG, Western Province, Papua New Guinea.[3]

Routamaa (1994: 7) estimates that there are about 800 speakers of Kamula located in 3 villages in Western Province, with no dialectal differences reported.[4] This is because the Kamula had originally lived in camps near Samokopa in the northern area, but a group had split off and moved to Wasapea in the south only around 50 years ago.[5]: 14 

In the northern villages of Kesiki and Samokopa, Kamula children were reported as preferring to speak Doso over Kamula. A minority of Kamula people in the northern area also live in Dibiyaso-speaking villages, where they are multilingual in Kamula, Doso, and Dibiyaso. Kamula people in the southern village of Wasapea are also fluent in Gogodala.[6]


The little data that exists for Kamula pronouns does not fit in with the neighboring East Strickland or Bosavi languages (though 1sg likely reflects proto-TNG *na), so Kamula is best left as an unclassified language an independent branch of Trans–New Guinea pending further study.

Attested pronouns are 1sg nɛ̃, 2sg wɛ̃, and ̩pl diɛ.


Kamula phonology:[8]


Kamula has 12 consonants.

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plosive p d k ɡ
nasal m n
fricative s h
approximant w j
lateral approximant l


Kamula has 7 vowels.

Front Central Back
close i u
close-mid e o
open-mid ɛ ɔ
open a


The following basic vocabulary words are from Dutton (2010),[9] Reesink (1976),[10] and Shaw (1986),[11] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[12]

gloss Kamula
head dokupala; tɔkɔnʌlʌ
hair kokosasi; kɔkɔsʌse
ear molo; mɔlɔ
eye inʌma; inoma
nose mu; mũ
tooth ɛpe
tongue te; tɛ
leg ɛtɛ; hetei
louse iyʌ; iya
dog ɛsemala; esemʌlʌ
pig ʌľiʌ
bird tea
egg temoko; temɔkɔ
blood umali; umʌ:li
bone ɛľu; ɛro
skin kapala; kʌpʌlʌ
breast mɛmɛ
tree dali; tʌli
man ɔpɔlʌimi; opřami
woman eya; ɛ̃yã
sun sali; sʌľi
moon mama; mʌmʌ
water yu
fire deľʌpʌ; dřaƀa
stone ewʌľʌ; yawařa
road, path api
name hi
eat dampřoma; tʌɛdɔma
one hatropɛ; hʌtɔlɔp
two dapiamɛtɛ; depiʌmɛtɛ


  1. ^ Kamula at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". 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. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "Papua New Guinea languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (22nd ed.). Dallas: SIL International.
  4. ^ Routamaa, Judy. 1994. Kamula grammar essentials.
  5. ^ Routamaa, Judy. 1997. Orthography paper Kamula, Western province.
  6. ^ a b Routamaa, Iska and Judy Routamaa. 1996. Dialect survey report of the Kamula language, Western province.
  7. ^ United Nations in Papua New Guinea (2018). "Papua New Guinea Village Coordinates Lookup". Humanitarian Data Exchange. 1.31.9.
  8. ^ Routamaa, Judy. 1995. Kamula phonology essentials.
  9. ^ Dutton, Tom E. 2010. Reconstructing Proto Koiarian: The history of a Papuan language family. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  10. ^ Reesink, Ger. 1976. Languages of the Aramia River Area. Papers in New Guinea Linguistics No. 19. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  11. ^ Shaw, R.D. "The Bosavi language family". In Laycock, D., Seiler, W., Bruce, L., Chlenov, M., Shaw, R.D., Holzknecht, S., Scott, G., Nekitel, O., Wurm, S.A., Goldman, L. and Fingleton, J. editors, Papers in New Guinea Linguistics No. 24. A-70:45-76. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1986. doi:10.15144/PL-A70.45
  12. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.