Tanah Merah
RegionSumuri District, Teluk Bintuni Regency, West Papua (Bapai Rover and Gondu River areas)
Native speakers
(500 cited 1978)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tcm
Map: The Sumeri language of New Guinea (located at left, in the Bird's Head)
  The Sumeri language
  Other Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages

Sumuri or Sumeri (one of two Papuan languages also known as Tanah Merah) is a language spoken in Sumuri District, Teluk Bintuni Regency on the Bomberai Peninsula by about a thousand people.


In Sumuri District of Teluk Bintuni Regency, Sumuri people reside in Tofoi (district capital), Materabu Jaya, Forada, Agoda, Saengga, Tanah Merah Baru, Onar Lama, and Onar Baru villages.[2]


In the classifications of Malcolm Ross (2005) and Timothy Usher (2020), Sumeri forms an independent branch of the Trans–New Guinea family, but Palmer (2018) classifies it as a language isolate.[3] It does not fit in with any of the established branches of TNG, but based on what little data there is, it would seem to be closest to either the Berau Gulf branches (i.e. South Bird's Head, West Bomberai etc.) or the Asmat–Mombum languages and their relatives further east.

Sumeri has previously been linked to the Mairasi languages, but those do not share the TNG pronouns of Sumeri. The Sumeri pronouns are:

sg pl
1ex na-fea kiria
1in kigokomaka
2 ka-fea ki-fia

There are no 3rd-person personal pronouns, only demonstratives. The pronouns appear to reflect pTNG *na 1sg, *ga 2sg, and *gi 2pl.


The following basic vocabulary words are from Voorhoeve (1975),[4] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[5]

gloss Tanah Merah
head breŋka; kidaso
hair nisa; nua
eye ka-bita; ndou
tooth eti; kioni
leg kiwi; oto
louse ia; miŋ
dog ibe; yoku
pig opo; tayna
bird awə; finanaburu
egg doŋ; no
blood kinatera; sa
bone naso; oro
skin ele; katane
tree o; ono; taya
man do; maopa
sun soniŋ; weti
water bu; moda
fire avonabe; siŋ
stone kenade; oru
name nigia; wado
eat anine; taue
one besika; naduma
two bi; wanitabo

See also



  1. ^ Sumuri at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Ronsumbre, Adolof (2020). Ensiklopedia Suku Bangsa di Provinsi Papua Barat. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Kepel Press. ISBN 978-602-356-318-0.
  3. ^ 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. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 1–20. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). " - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.