|Region||Papua: Sarmi Regency, West Pantai District, north coast (Masep village); also west of Sarmi near Apauwer River|
Massep (Masep, Potafa, Wotaf) is a poorly documented Papuan language spoken by fewer than 50 people in the single village of Masep in West Pantai District, Sarmi Regency, Papua. Despite the small number of speakers, however, language use is vigorous. It is surrounded by the Kwerba languages Airoran and Samarokena.
Clouse, Donohue, and Ma (2002) conclude that it definitely is not a Kwerba language, as it had been classified by Wurm (1975). They did not notice connections to any other language family. However, Usher (2018) classifies it as Greater Kwerbic.
Ethnologue, Glottolog, and Foley (2018) list it as a language isolate, but it has not been included in wider surveys, such as Ross (2005). The pronouns are not dissimilar from those of Trans–New Guinea languages, but Massep is geographically distant from that family.
Some probable consonant leniting sound changes proposed by Foley (2018):
Massep case suffixes as quoted by Foley (2018) from Clouse (2002):
|-o ~ -u ~ -a||accusative|
Massep sentences as quoted by Foley (2018) from Clouse (2002):
ka icin-o fartasi unu-ɣoke
1SG stone-ACC throw dog-DAT
‘I threw a stone at the dog.’
je saremna yaf-avri
2PL sit house-LOC
‘You (pl.) sat in the house.’
‘You see me.’
Word order is SOV.