South Pauwasi
Yetfa – South Pauwasi River
Papua: Pegunungan Bintang Regency
Linguistic classificationPauwasi
  • South Pauwasi

The South Pauwasi languages are a likely small language family of New Guinea, potentially consisting of Yetfa, Kimki, Lepki, Murkim and Kembra.[1]


Usher (2020) classifies the languages as follows,[1]

Yetfa – South Pauwasi River

The relationship of the five languages was recognized in the early 2000s as Paul Whitehouse assembled unpublished data from the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Usher classifies them as a branch of the Pauwasi language family.[1] Søren Wichmann (2013) agrees that Murkim and Lepki at least appear to be very closely related.[2] Foley (2018) accepts that Kembra, which is very poorly attested, may be related as well.[3]


Some cognates connecting the languages are as follows. There are also loanwords in common with Pyu.[1]

South Pauwasi cognates
gloss Yetfa Kimki Kembra Lepki Murkim
water ket, kel di er kɛl kel
two kais kaisi kais
head anok no-tɛl anok
leaf bwaitʰ (?) -βai bwaik
skin/bark it-'ba jit jaitʰ
worm briɸ brɛp breɸ
louse (n)jim -nim nim nɪm ɪm
hair itʰ -jet jɛt
ear bwa bwi bwi
eye ɛ̃ ji jɛ-mɔn
coconut was- wæjs wais-
speech ma mi mi- mi
knife tema tma tə̆'ma tma
canoe kuf õːp kuβ kuɸ
shit ɲan ain -ɲa njah ~ iãh
person ap ~ aɸ rá- ra ɸra
egg nela -lĕl dɛl nel
fire/wood jao (tree) ja jo ~ ja-
house nam meː nim mi
laugh mamla -mwel-o mwalo
this si si si
cloud kos kos- kos-
tongue arbak braw prouk
tail nókwa jouk jakʷat~ɲakʷat
white dol- lol
far uje~udʒe w̆ijɛ wije~uje-
come -ki- guj- kʷi
1pl name nakme
2pl same sakme-re


  1. ^ a b c d New Guinea World, South Pauwasi River
  2. ^ Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages. 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. ^ 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.