RegionPapua: 9 villages located 100 km to the south of Jayapura; in Keerom Regency, Senggi District, Molof village
Native speakers
230 (2005)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3msl

Molof (Ampas, Poule, Powle-Ma) is a poorly documented Papuan language spoken by about 200 people in Molof village, Senggi District, Keerom Regency.[1]


Wurm (1975) placed it as an independent branch of Trans–New Guinea, but Ross (2005) could not find enough evidence to classify it. Søren Wichmann (2018)[2] tentatively considers it to be a language isolate, as does Foley (2018).[3] Usher (2020) tentatively suggests it may be a Pauwasi language.[4]


Molof has a small consonant inventory, but a large one for vowels.

Molof consonants, quoted by Foley (2018) from Donohue (n.d.):[3]

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
plain labial plain labial
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p t k
Fricative f s
Liquid r
Semivowel j w

Molof vowels (8 total), quoted by Foley (2018) from Donohue (n.d.):[3]

Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

Basic vocabulary

Basic vocabulary of Molof from Rumaropen (2005), quoted in Foley (2018):[5][3]

Molof basic vocabulary
gloss Molof
‘bird’ au
‘blood’ mɪt
‘bone’ antai
‘breast’ mu
‘ear’ ou
‘egg’ li
‘eye’ lum
‘fire’ tombe
‘give’ tui
‘go’ tuɨ
‘ground’ aigiman
‘hair’ era
‘hear’ ar/arai
‘I’ məik
‘leg’ vu
‘louse’ əlim
‘man’ lomoa
‘moon’ ar
‘name’ ti
‘one’ kwasekak
‘road, path’ mɪtnine
‘see’ lokea
‘sky’ mejor
‘sun’ neman
‘tongue’ aifoma
‘tree’ war
‘two’ atati
‘water’ yat
‘we’ ti
‘woman’ anar
‘you (sg)’ in

The following basic vocabulary words are from Voorhoeve (1971, 1975),[6][7] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[8]

gloss Molof
head emi
hair ela
ear ou
eye lom
nose toŋga
tooth te
tongue ai
leg fu
louse lem
bird au
egg le
blood mat
bone antai
skin kant
breast mu
tree woar
man lomo
woman anale
sun nei
moon ar
water jat; yat
fire tombe
stone le
road, path mef
name ti
eat ne
one kwasekak
two ateti


  1. ^ a b Molof at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages Archived 2020-11-25 at the Wayback Machine. In: Hammarström, Harald and Wilco van den Heuvel (eds.), History, contact and classification of Papuan languages (Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012), 313-386. Port Moresby: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea.
  3. ^ a b c d Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". 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. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  4. ^ New Guinea World
  5. ^ Rumaropen, Benny. 2005. Sociolinguistic Report of the Poulle Language of Molof and Waley Villages, Keeron District, Papua, Indonesia. Unpublished manuscript. Jayapura: SIL Indonesia.
  6. ^ Voorhoeve, C.L. "Miscellaneous Notes on Languages in West Irian, New Guinea". In Dutton, T., Voorhoeve, C. and Wurm, S.A. editors, Papers in New Guinea Linguistics No. 14. A-28:47-114. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1971. doi:10.15144/PL-A28.47
  7. ^ Voorhoeve, C.L. Languages of Irian Jaya: Checklist. Preliminary classification, language maps, wordlists. B-31, iv + 133 pages. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1975. doi:10.15144/PL-B31
  8. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). " - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.