Native toIndonesia
RegionMandobo District in Boven Digoel Regency, Papua
Native speakers
30,000 (2002)[1]
  • Bawah
  • Atas
  • Kokenop
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
bwp – Mandobo Bawah
aax – Mandobo Atas

Mandobo, or Kaeti, is a Papuan language of Mandobo District in Boven Digoel Regency, Papua, Indonesia.


Ethnologue distinguishes two languages:



Front Central Back
Close i y u
Mid e o
Open a


Labial Alveolar Dorsal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Nasal m n
Rhotic ɾ
Approximant w j



See also: Greater Awyu languages § Evolution

Below are some Kaeti reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea proposed by Pawley (2012), drawn from McElhanon and Voorhoeve (1970).[3][4]

proto-Trans-New Guinea Kaeti
*maŋgat[a] ‘teeth, mouth’ magot
*mVkVm ‘cheek’ (a)moka (cf. Axu moxo pe)
*maŋgV ‘compact round object’ (Axu mügo ‘egg’)
*amu ‘breast’ am
*k(o,u)ma(n,ŋ)[V] ‘neck, nape’ koman
*kumV- ‘die’ kün (cf. Sawuy xom-, Wambon N. & Wambon S. kim-)
*mVkVm ‘cheek, jaw’ (a)moka ‘cheek’
*na ‘1SG’ nø(p)
*ni, *nu ‘1PL free pron.’ no-güp
*na- ‘eat’ (Wambon en-)
*k(o,u)ma(n,ŋ)[V] ‘neck, nape’ koman
*mb(i,u)t(i,u)C ‘fingernail’ betit
*imbi ‘name’ üp
*apa[pa]ta ‘butterfly’ apap
*k(a,o)ndok[V] ‘foot, leg’ kodok
*andu- ‘to cook’ odu
*mb(i,u)t(i,u)C ‘fingernail’ betit
*(ŋg,k)iti-maŋgV ‘eye’ (?) kerop
*(mb,p)ututu- ‘to fly’ (?) bere(na)
*kumut, *tumuk ‘thunder’ komöt
*maŋgat[a] ‘teeth, mouth’ magot
*ŋga ‘2SG’ gu
*maŋgat[a] ‘teeth, mouth’ magot
*maŋgV ‘compact round object’ (Axu mügo ‘egg’)
*ka(nd,t)(e,i)kV ‘ear’ kere(top)
*k(a,o)ndok[V] ‘foot, leg’ kodok
*ka(nd,t)apu ‘skin’ kotae
*kumbutu ‘wind’ kiow
*kin(i,u)- ‘sleep’ kinum
*kumV- ‘die’ kün
*k(o,u)ma(n,ŋ)[V] ‘neck’ koman
*kuya ‘cassowary’ (Sawuy kuye)
*kV(mb,p)(i,u)t(i,u) ‘head’ (?) xebia(an)
*mVkVm ‘cheek’ (a)moka (cf. Axu moxo pe)
*kutV(mb,p)(a,u)[C] ‘long’ (?) guru(op)
*ok[V] ‘water’ ok
*k(a,o)ndok[V] ‘foot’ kodok

Further reading


  1. ^ Mandobo Bawah at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Mandobo Atas at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Voorhoeve, C. L. (2001). Proto-Awyu-Dumut phonology II. In Andrew Pawley and Malcolm Ross and Darrell Tryon (eds.), The Boy from Bundaberg: Studies in Melanesian Linguistics in Honor of Tom Dutton: Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. pp. 361–381.
  3. ^ Pawley, Andrew (2012). Hammarström, Harald; van den Heuvel, Wilco (eds.). "How reconstructable is proto Trans New Guinea? Problems, progress, prospects". History, Contact and Classification of Papuan Languages. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea (Language & Linguistics in Melanesia Special Issue 2012: Part I): 88–164. hdl:1885/38602. ISSN 0023-1959.
  4. ^ McElhanon, Kenneth A. AND C.L. Voorhoeve. 1970. The Trans–New Guinea Phylum: explorations in deep-level genetic relationships. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.