Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionChimbu Province, from Kundiawa to beyond Kerowagi in the west and Gembogl in the north, at the foot of Mount Wilhelm
Native speakers
120,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kue

Kuman (also Chimbu or Simbu) is a language of Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea. In 1994, it was estimated that 80,000 people spoke Kuman, 10,000 of them monolinguals;[2] in the 2000 census, 115,000 were reported, with few monolinguals.[1]


Like other Chimbu languages, Kuman has rather unusual lateral consonants. Besides the typical /l/, it has a "laterally released velar affricate" which is voiced medially and voiceless finally (and does not occur initially).[3] Based on related languages, this is presumably /k͡ʟ̝̊/, allophonically [ɡ͡ʟ̝] (see voiceless velar lateral fricative).


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plosive voiceless p t k
prenasal/vd. ᵐb ~ b ⁿd ~ d ᵑɡ ~ g
Nasal m n
Fricative s
Tap ɾ
Lateral l ʟ
Semivowel w j


Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a


Kuman is an SOV language.

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2009)


The following basic vocabulary words are from Salisbury (1956)[6] and Trefry (1969),[7] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[8]

gloss Kuman
head bit-na; bɩtiɩno
hair iŋguno; yungo
ear kina-na; kunano
eye gumutino; ongomit-na
nose guma-ne; gumano
tooth siŋguno
tongue dirambino
leg kati; kat-na
louse numan
dog aʝg; agi; akɬ ̥
pig bogla; bugɬa
bird kua
egg mugɬo; muɬo
blood borɔmai; bořumai; maiam
bone yambiřo; yombura
skin gaŋgino
breast amu-na; amuno
tree endi
man yagl; yakɬ ̥
woman ambu
sun ande; andesuŋgua
moon ba
water nigl; nikɬ ̥
fire baugl; doŋga
stone kombuglo; kombugɬo
road, path konbo; konumbo
name kaŋgin; kangi-ne
eat neuŋgua
one suařa
two suo


  1. ^ a b Kuman at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Kuman language (New Guinea) at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  3. ^ Foley, 1986:63, The Papuan languages of New Guinea
  4. ^ Pfantz, Daryl & Mary (2004). Kuman Language [Simbu Province]. Organized Phonological Data: SIL.
  5. ^ Piau, Julie A. (1985). Verbal Syntax of Kuman. Australian National University: Canberra.
  6. ^ Salisbury, R.F. 1956. The Siane Language of the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea. Anthropos 51:447-480.
  7. ^ Trefry, D. 1969. A comparative study of Kuman and Pawaian. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  8. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.

Further reading