|Native to||Papua New Guinea|
|from 1,400 (2000 census)|
to 3,500 (2007)
Mian is an Ok language spoken in the Telefomin district of the Sandaun province in Papua New Guinea by the Mian people. It has some 3,500 speakers spread across two dialects: West Mian (a.k.a. Suganga), with approximately 1,000 speakers in around Yapsiei, and East Mian, with approximately 2,500 speakers in and around Timeilmin, Temsakmin, Sokamin, Gubil, Fiak and Hotmin.
Phonologically, Mian is very similar to other Papuan languages in the size of its phoneme inventory, but it nevertheless has some peculiarities, such as its contrast between a plain [a] and a pharyngealized [aˤ]. It is also a tonal language.
Mian has six vowels, including the pharyngealized open front vowel.
|Close||i /i/||u /u/|
Mian also has four diphthongs:
|Ending with /i/||Ending with /u/|
|ai /a͡i/||au /a͡u/|
|ei /ɛ͡i/||ou /o͡u/|
/ɛ/ is realized as [ə] in word-initial low-tone syllables, [ɛ] elsewhere.
/a/ is realized as [ɐ] in unaccented syllables, [ə] in word-initial low-tone syllables beginning with a consonant, [a] elsewhere.
/o/ is realized as [ɔ] in word-initial low-tone syllables and in syllables ending in a voiceless plosive or [ŋ], [o] elsewhere.
/u/ is realized as [ʊ] in word-initial low-tone syllables, [u] elsewhere.
Mian has 16 consonants:
|Plosive||Voiceless||t ⟨t⟩||k ⟨k⟩||kʷ ⟨kw⟩|
|Voiced||b ⟨b⟩||d ⟨d⟩||ɡ ⟨g⟩||ɡʷ ⟨gw⟩|
|Nasal||m ⟨m⟩||n ⟨n⟩||ŋ ⟨ng⟩|
|Fricative||f ⟨f⟩||s ⟨s⟩||h ⟨h⟩|
|Approximant||l ⟨l⟩||j ⟨y⟩||w ⟨w⟩|
/b/ is realized as [ᵐb] word-initially, [pʰ] or [p̚] syllable-finally, [b] elsewhere.
/t/ is realized as [tʰ] before vowels, [tʰ] or [t̚] syllable-finally.
/k/ is realized as [kʰ] before vowels, [kʰ] or [k̚] syllable-finally, sometimes [x] between vowels, [qʰ] before [aˤ].
/ɡ/ is realized as [ᵑɡ] word-initially, [ɡ] elsewhere.
/ɡʷ/ is realized as [ᵑɡʷ] word-initially, [ɡʷ] elsewhere.
Mian has five tonemes:
|Low||am [àm] house|
|High||án [án] arrow|
|Low-High||ǎam [ǎˤːm] Pandanus species|
|High-Low||hâs [hâs] hat|
|Low-High-Low||aam [àˤːm̂] older sister|
The tones of Mian are very complex, as they are subject to various phonological processes, and furthermore, they can be used for indicating various grammatical aspects, especially in connection with verbs, where the tones are crucial for understanding.
Consider the two verb forms below, being non-hodiernal and imperfective respectively:
Large objects in Mianmin are feminine, while small objects are masculine.
‘large taro/large quantity of taro’