Native toIndonesia
RegionMpur and Amberbaken Districts, Tambrauw Regency on the north coast of the Bird's Head Peninsula
Native speakers
5,000 (2002)[1]
  • Sirir
  • Ajiw
Language codes
ISO 639-3akc
Approximate location where Mpur is spoken
Approximate location where Mpur is spoken
Coordinates: 0°45′S 133°10′E / 0.75°S 133.17°E / -0.75; 133.17

Mpur (also known as Amberbaken, Kebar, Ekware, and Dekwambre), is a language isolate spoken in and around Mpur and Amberbaken Districts in Tambrauw Regency of the Bird's Head Peninsula, New Guinea. It is not closely related to any other language, and though Ross (2005) tentatively assigned it to the West Papuan languages, based on similarities in pronouns, Palmer (2018), Ethnologue, and Glottolog list it as a language isolate.[2][3]


In Tambrauw Regency, ethnic Mpur people reside in Kebar District, Kebar Timur District, Manekar District, Amberbaken District, Mubrani District, and Senopi District. Villages include Akmuri, Nekori, Ibuanari, Atai, Anjai, Jandurau, Ajami, Inam, Senopi, Asiti, Wausin, and Afrawi.[4]



Consonants in Mpur are:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative ɸ s
Semivowel j w


Mpur has five vowels: /a, e, i, o, u/.[1]


Mpur has a complex tonal system with 4 lexical tones and an additional contour tone, a compound of two of the lexical tones. Its tonal system is somewhat similar to the nearby Austronesian languages of Mor and Ma'ya.[5][6] The neighboring language isolate Abun is also tonal.[7]

Mpur has four lexical tones. There is also a fifth complex contour tone formed as a phonetic compound of two lexical tones. An example minimal set is given below.[7]

Vocabulary comparison

The following basic vocabulary words are from Miedema & Welling (1985),[8] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[9]

gloss Mpur (Arfu dialect) Mpur (Kebar dialect)
head èbuam èbuam
hair byambur buambor
eye éyam yam
tooth èbir bir
leg pirik èipèt
louse iːm èyim
dog p(y)èr pir
pig duao duaw
bird iw (ip) if
egg bua bua
blood éfar far
bone éip ip
skin (è)fièk fièk
tree perahu perau
man dèmonip mamir
sun put put
water war war
fire yit yèt
stone biːt bit
name muk emuk
eat èryèt barièt
one tu tu
two dokir dukir


  1. ^ a b "WALS Online -". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  2. ^ Amberbaken at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Mpur". Glottolog 4.3.
  4. ^ Ronsumbre, Adolof (2020). Ensiklopedia Suku Bangsa di Provinsi Papua Barat. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Kepel Press. ISBN 978-602-356-318-0.
  5. ^ Muysken, Pieter (2008). From Linguistic Areas to Areal Linguistics. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 134. ISBN 9789027231000.
  6. ^ Palmer, Bill (2018). "Language families of the New Guinea Area". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 1–20. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  7. ^ a b Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian (2018). "The Papuan languages of East Nusantara and the Bird's Head". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 569–640. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  8. ^ Miedema, J. and Welling, F.I. "Fieldnotes on languages and dialects in the Kebar district, Bird's Head, Irian Jaya". In Adams, K., Lauck, L., Miedema, J., Welling, F., Stokhof, W., Flassy, D., Oguri, H., Collier, K., Gregerson, K., Phinnemore, T., Scorza, D., Davies, J., Comrie, B. and Abbott, S. editors, Papers in New Guinea Linguistics No. 22. A-63:29-52. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1985. doi:10.15144/PL-A63.29
  9. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). " - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.

Further reading