Wiru
Witu
Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionIalibu-Pangia District,
Southern Highlands Province
EthnicityWiru
Native speakers
(15,300 cited 1967, repeated 1981)[1]
Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3wiu
Glottologwiru1244
ELPWiru
Wiru language.svg
Map: The Wiru language of New Guinea
  The Wiru language
  Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages
  Uninhabited

Wiru or Witu is the language spoken by the Wiru people of Ialibu-Pangia District of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. The language has been described by Harland Kerr, a missionary who lived in the Wiru community for many years. Kerr's work with the community produced a Wiru bible translation and several unpublished dictionary manuscripts,[3] as well as Kerr's Master's thesis on the structure of Wiru verbs.[4]

There are a considerable number of resemblances with the Engan languages, suggesting Wiru might be a member of that family, but language contact has not been ruled out as the reason. Usher classifies it with the Teberan languages.

Pronouns

Trans–New Guinea–like pronouns are no 1sg (< *na) and ki-wi 2pl, ki-ta 2du (< *ki).

Vocabulary

The following basic vocabulary words are from Franklin (1973,[5] 1975),[6] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[7]

gloss Wiru
head tobou
hair pine; píne
ear kabidi
eye lene
nose timini
tooth kime
tongue keke; keké
leg kawa
louse nomo; nomò
dog tue
pig kaì
bird ini; inì
egg mu̧
blood kamate
bone tono
skin kepene
breast adu
tree yomo; yomò
man ali
woman atoa; atòa
sun lou; loú
moon tokene
water ue; uè
fire toe
stone kue; kué
name ibini; ibíni
eat nakò; one ne nako
one odene
two takuta; ta kutà

Syntax

Wiru has a general noun-modifying clause construction.[8] In this construction, a noun can be modified by a clause that immediately precedes it. The noun may, but need not, correspond to an argument of the modifying clause. Such constructions can be used to express a wide range of semantic relationships between clause and noun. The follow examples all use the same noun-modifying clause construction:

[No

1sg

ka-k-u]

stay-prs-1sg

tono

mountain

tubea.

big

[No ka-k-u] tono tubea.

1sg stay-prs-1sg mountain big

'The mountain I am on top of is big.'

[Kia-nea

be.red-inf

karo

car

pi-k-i]

lie-prs-2/3pl

ail-aroa

man-woman

eida

there

piri-ki-ya.

lie-prs-2/3pl-hab

[Kia-nea karo pi-k-i] ail-aroa eida piri-ki-ya.

be.red-inf car lie-prs-2/3pl man-woman there lie-prs-2/3pl-hab

'The people who own red cars live there.'

[Kenbra

Canberra

namolo

first

no-k-o]

come-pst-1pl

ko

story

ou.

say.1sg.fut

[Kenbra namolo no-k-o] ko ou.

Canberra first come-pst-1pl story say.1sg.fut

'I'll tell the story about the first time we came to Canberra.'

[Toro

1pl

pea

all

skul

school

ke

loc

poa-rok-o]

go-opt-1pl

oi

time

no-ka-l-e...

come-pst-ds-2/3pl...

[Toro pea skul ke poa-rok-o] oi no-ka-l-e...

1pl all school loc go-opt-1pl time come-pst-ds-2/3pl...

'The time for all of us to go to school arrived...'

The noun-modifying clause construction imposes a falling tone on the head noun. That is, no matter what the lexical tone of the noun that is being modified is, it takes on a high-low tone pattern when it is modified in a noun-modifying clause construction.

Evolution

Wiru reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:[9]

References

  1. ^ Wiru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ New Guinea World, Tua River
  3. ^ Kerr, Harland. "Witumo Wituda Database". Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  4. ^ Kerr, Harland (1967). A preliminary statement of Witu grammar: The syntactic role and structure of the verb (PDF) (MA). University of Hawaiʻi.
  5. ^ Franklin, K.J. "Other Language Groups in the Gulf District and Adjacent Areas". In Franklin, K. editor, The linguistic situation in the Gulf District and adjacent areas, Papua New Guinea. C-26:261-278. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1973. doi:10.15144/PL-C26.261
  6. ^ Franklin K.J. 1975. Comments on Proto-Engan. In S.A. Wurm, Ed. New Guinea Area Languages and Language Study: Papuan languages and the New Guinea linguistic scene. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp. 263-275.
  7. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  8. ^ Hendy, Caroline; Daniels, Don (2021). "The Wiru Noun-Modifying Clause Construction". Oceanic Linguistics. 60 (1): 72–102. doi:10.1353/ol.2021.0002.
  9. ^ Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". 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. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.

Further reading