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Mairasi languages

Etna Bay
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
Mairasi map.svg
Distribution of the Mairasi languages

The Mairasi languages, also known as Etna Bay[2] are a small independent family of Papuan languages in the classification of Malcolm Ross, that had been part of Stephen Wurm's Trans–New Guinea proposal.


Mairasi cannot be linked to other families by its pronouns. However, Voorhoeve (1975) links it to the Sumeri (Tanah Merah) language, either a language isolate or an independent branch of the Trans–New Guinea family.

Pawley and Hammarström (2018) do not consider there to be sufficient evidence for the Mairasi languages to be classified as part of Trans-New Guinea, though they do note the following lexical resemblance between Mairasi, Semimi, and proto-Trans-New Guinea.[3]

Mairasi ooro and Semimi okoranda ‘leg’ < proto-Trans-New Guinea *k(a,o)nd(a,o)C ‘leg’


The Mairasi languages are clearly related to each other.


The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto-Mairasi are,

I *omo we *etumaka (inclusive), *eme (exclusive)
thou *nemi you *keme
s/he ? they *negi

Basic vocabulary

Basic vocabulary of Mairasi languages (Mairasi, Mer, Semimi) from Peckham (1991a,b), quoted in Foley (2018):[4][5][6]

Mairasi family basic vocabulary
gloss Mairasi Mer Semimi
‘bird’ sai sai sai
‘blood’ isere isere monad
‘bone’ natura singgu natura
‘breast’ jogu jogu jogu
‘ear’ navir anda nevira ot navira[note 1]
‘eat’ neneman namba neneme
‘egg’ eːte ede anggu ete
‘eye’ nambutu nembiatu ombiatu
‘fire’ ivore ivoro iforo
‘give’ tomnaijan nombonaiyomo tomonai
‘ground’ wasasai wasase makoro
‘hair’ nasuru nasuru nasuru
‘hear’ ivjeme iveme iveme
‘I’ ʔomo omo omo
‘leg’ naʔor nakora okor anda
‘louse’ ʔumai kumai kumai
‘man’ tatʔovo neum tato tatokovo
‘moon’ unsir anggane anggane
‘name’ nggwata wata newata
‘one’ tanggau nawaze tanakau
‘path, road’ ʔae kae kai
‘see’ natom daviomo nondome
‘stone’ javutu wavo javutu
‘sun’ tende ungguru tende
‘tongue’ nasavia nesavi osavi
‘tooth’ narasi nerasi orasi
‘tree’ ʔiu u ʔu
‘two’ amoi amoi amoi
‘water’ fata kai fate
‘we’ eːme edumaga ʔeme
‘woman’ evei waini efei
‘you (sg)’ ʔeme kene keme

See also


  1. ^ The exact phonetic values of <v> and <f> in Mer and Semimi are unknown.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mairasic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ NewGuineaWord Etna Bay
  3. ^ 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. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  4. ^ Peckham, Lloyd. 1991a. Etna Bay survey report: Irian Jaya Bird’s Neck languages. Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures 10: 147–185.
  5. ^ Peckham, Lloyd. 1991b. Mairasi phonology. Workpapers in Indonesian Languages and Cultures 10: 111–145.
  6. ^ 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. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.

External links