Usku
Afra
RegionUsku village, Senggi District, Keerom Regency, Papua, Indonesia
Native speakers
20 to 160 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ulf
Glottologusku1243
ELPAfra
Lang Status 20-CR.svg
Usku is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Usku, or Afra, is a nearly extinct and poorly documented Papuan language spoken by 20 or more people, mostly adults, in Usku village, Senggi District, Keerom Regency, Papua, Indonesia.

Wurm (1975) placed it as an independent branch of Trans–New Guinea, but Ross (2005) could not find enough evidence to classify it. Usher (2020) found that it was one of the West Pauwasi languages, though divergent from the other two branches of that family.[2] Foley (2018) classifies Usku as a language isolate.[3]

An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013)[4] found lexical similarities between Usku and Kaure. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.

Basic vocabulary

Basic vocabulary of Usku from Im (2006), quoted by Foley (2018):[5][3]

Usku basic vocabulary
gloss Usku
‘bird’ rkwe
‘blood’ misie
‘bone’ kra
‘breast’ mi
‘ear’ bekria
‘eat’ nggreka
‘egg’ kri
‘eye’ nifi
‘fire’ yo
‘give’ roti
‘go’ rifri
‘ground’ taʔ
‘hair’ klekondia
‘hear’ yukri
‘I’ o
‘leg’ nafu
‘louse’ nimi
‘man’ na
‘moon’ menggrine
‘name’ təkwar
‘one’ kuskafi
‘road, path’ tra
‘see’ fra
‘sky’ mumgre
‘stone’ pani
‘sun’ winene
‘tongue’ bra
‘tooth’ ninggre
‘tree’ ninani
‘two’ narse
‘water’ a/æ
‘we’ no
‘woman’ ria
‘you (sg)’ po
‘you (pl)’ so

The following basic vocabulary words are from the Trans-New Guinea database:[6]

gloss Usku
head flekle
hair flekle-kunda
ear beikli
eye nifi
tooth neŋkle
tongue bra
leg nafu
louse nimi
bird lokwe
egg kle
blood kla; mise
bone kla; mi
skin ninje; ninye
breast kiombra
tree weli
man mekenja; mekenya
woman jomia
sun nei
moon meŋgerne
water ei
fire jo; yo
stone pane
road, path tra
eat kepo
one kisifaini
two narna

Morphology

Usku morphology as inferred by Foley (2018):[3]

Sentences

Word order in Usku is SOV.[3]

Some of the few documented sentences in Usku are:[3]

(1)

e

3

wang

money

o

1SG

ai

father

se

DAT

roti-mo

give-TNS

e wang o ai se roti-mo

3 money 1SG father DAT give-TNS

‘She gave money to my father.’

(2)

e

3

kompong

village

se

DAT

rifli-mo

go-TNS

e kompong se rifli-mo

3 village DAT go-TNS

‘He went to the village.’

(3)

kɨnmar

person

kompong

village

e

ABL

duar-mo

come-TNS

kɨnmar kompong e duar-mo

person village ABL come-TNS

‘That person came from the village.’

(4)

kɨnmar

person

mra-mu

dog-ERG/FOC?

ya-mu

bite-TNS

kɨnmar mra-mu ya-mu

person dog-ERG/FOC? bite-TNS

‘The dog bit that person.’

References

  1. ^ Usku at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ New Guinea World
  3. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ Müller, André, Viveka Velupillai, Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Eric W. Holman, Sebastian Sauppe, Pamela Brown, Harald Hammarström, Oleg Belyaev, Johann-Mattis List, Dik Bakker, Dmitri Egorov, Matthias Urban, Robert Mailhammer, Matthew S. Dryer, Evgenia Korovina, David Beck, Helen Geyer, Pattie Epps, Anthony Grant, and Pilar Valenzuela. 2013. ASJP World Language Trees of Lexical Similarity: Version 4 (October 2013).
  5. ^ Im, Youn-Shim. 2006. Survey Report on the Usku Language of Papua, Indonesia. Unpublished report. Jayapura: SIL Indonesia.
  6. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.