RegionMarkham Valley, New Guinea
Native speakers
200 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3msu
Musom is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
Coordinates: 6°41′01″S 147°06′52″E / 6.683574°S 147.11452°E / -6.683574; 147.11452 (Musom)

Musom is an Austronesian language spoken in the single village of Musom (6°41′01″S 147°06′52″E / 6.683574°S 147.11452°E / -6.683574; 147.11452 (Musom)) in Labuta Rural LLG, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.[2] The other name for Musom is Misatik, given by the older generations because this was the name of the village that the ancestors settled on.[3] Musom is currently an endangered language due to the fact that native Musom speakers are continuing to marry other language speakers.[3] Musom is also endangered because of its change in grammar and vocabulary due to its bi- and multilingualism.[3] In the Musom village, other languages that Musom speakers may speak are Aribwuang and Duwet.[3] In the Gwabadik village, because of intermarriages other languages that Musom speakers may speak are Nabak and Mesem.[3]


Musom Consonants[3]
Bilabial Alveolar Affricated


Velar Glottal Labio-velar
Stop: Voiceless p t ts k ' kw
Voiced b d dz g gw
Prenasalised (nts)
Voiced mb nd ndz ngg
Nasal m n ng
Fricatives s h
Liquid r
Semi-vowel w

In Musom, voiceless, voiced and prenasalised voice are the only series of stops when it comes to consonants.[3] For Musom consonants, if there is a prenasalised voice stop, the vowel is then seen after it and is can be as nasal only.[3] Allophones are contained in the prenasalised voiced affricated alveolar stop /ndz/ which occurs initially, medially, and then [nts] occurs finally.[3]

For the consonants, /w, kw, gw/ they do not occur initially, medially and finally, but all other consonants do.[3] Other consonants that do not occur finally are /d, g, ndz/.[3] When the word ends in with a consonant and the next word also begins with a consonant, a prothetic a is put in between the words.[3] For the consonant /r/, it contains two allophones [r] and [l], but only in free variation.[3]

Musom Vowels[3]
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a
Diphthongs: ai, ou, au, oi, oai

When Musom is compared to Yabim, there are claims that infer that Musom may have a 7-vowel system.[3]

Syllable Structure

Musom language has a syllable structure of (C) V (C) (V) (C).[3]


In Musom language, if a speaker were to talk fast, /u/ could be heard as [i].[3] Some examples that could be heard are:[3]

If a subject pronoun prefix that contains a vowel, comes before the root that is within a vowel (verb root), the verb root changes according to what came before it.[3] Some examples are:[3]

i-mbidi 3rd person subject

a-mbitsi 1st person subject > u-mbutsi 2nd person subject

i-imbitsi 3rd person subject

Words that contain multiple syllables, those syllables could be dropped or centralized.[3] A vowel turns into schwa [ə] in the unstressed syllable.[3] Here is an example:[3]


Focal pronouns are able to be used as subjects and objects of verbs.[3] Prepositions only occur with objects of verbs.[3] Focal pronouns are also found in a possessive phrase.[3] For 1st singular, short form only occurs when wir is switched for u or ur.[3]

Focal Pronouns[3]
1 excl. wir/u/ur sikin tse
1 incl. - suk tsir
2 ingg som sikin tsom
3 in isikin is

Interrogative pronouns can be seen with who and what.[3] In Musom, who and what can be used with two different pronouns.[3] Those two different pronouns are:[3]

Some examples of these two pronouns are:[3]

Asa ngaing gi-its ingg? Who hit you? (lit. Which man hit you?)

Both reflexive and emphatic pronouns both mean Pronoun + self.[3] This table shows the reflexive and emphatic pronouns:[3]

Reflexive/Emphatic Pronouns[3]
1EXC (o)rong ro(ng)geng ro(ng)geng
1INC - rons rons
2 (i)rom romem romem
3 ron rons rons


The first type of possession in Musom has inalienable nouns.[3] Some examples of these inalienable nouns are kin terms, body parts, name, namesake, friend or trade partner.[3]

Possession of Set 1 Inalienable Kinship Terms and Body Parts[3]
1EXC wir/ur a + N-ng(g) sikin a + N-ng (g) tse + N-ng(g)
1INC suk a + N-ng(g) tsir a + N-ng(g)
2 ingg a + N-m som sikin a + N-m tsom a + N-m
3 in a + N-n isikin a + N-n is a + N-m

The second type of possession in Musom is Alienable possession.[3] The second type of possession holds all the nouns that are not in the first type.[3] The possessive phrase can contain noun or pronoun possession, and prothetic a.[3] Then there is a noun that is not attributed to the possessive markers which is the noun possessed.[3] Here are some examples:[3]

ingg a mimin your betelnut

in a tahung his smoke

is a kom/kom a is en their dog

Sentence Structure


In the Musom language, sentences can be formed by using conjunctions such as da 'and, but' and ma 'or'.[3] One example using da is:[3]

weEXC P-SPP1-go P-SPP1-cook breadfruit and P-SPP1-fish

We cooked breadfruit and fished (for crayfish) in the river.

One example using ma is:[3]

youSG IRR-SPP2-go Madang or youSG IRR-SPP2-go

You can go to Madang or you can go to Ramu.


The Musom language when using conditional sentences can be found in the form of:[3]

da + Subject 1 + ng-SPP-V da + Subject 2 bo-ng-SPP-V

An example using a conditional sentence is:[3]

and rain IRR-SPP3-fall I FUT-IRR-SPP1-stay village

If it rains I will stay in the village


  1. ^ Musom at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Holzknecht, Susanne (1989). The Markham Languages of Papua New Guinea. Pacific Linguistics. ISBN 0-85883-394-8.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av Wurm, Stephen A. (1997). Materials on Languages in Danger of Disappearing in the Asia-Pacific Region No. 1. Australia: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 67–102. ISBN 0 85883 467 7.