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Mawes language

RegionPapua: Sarmi Regency, Bonggo District - Mawes Dai, Mawes Mukti, and Mawes Wres villages to the west of the Buri River
Native speakers
850 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mgk

Mawes is a Papuan language of Indonesia.

Usher (2020) proposes that it may be related to the Kwerbic languages.[3] Foley (2018) classifies Mawes as a language isolate,[4] and so does Hammarström (2010).[5]


Pronouns are:[4]

sg pl
1 kidam inim
2 nam nɛm
3 ɛbɛ mia

Basic vocabulary

Basic vocabulary of Mawes listed in Foley (2018):[4]

Mawes basic vocabulary
gloss Mawes
‘bird’ ikinin
‘blood’ wɛrɛi
‘bone’ tuan
‘ear’ bɛr
‘eat’ nan
‘egg’ siwin
‘eye’ nonsum
‘fire’ kani
‘leg, foot’ yaʔ
‘louse’ sene
‘name’ dimanɛ
‘one’ mɛndakai
‘see’ nomo
‘sky’ kowan
‘stone’ fɛt
‘sun’ ɛsar
‘tooth’ wan
‘tree’ dengkin
‘two’ yakɛneu
‘water’ bo
‘woman’ yei


Of the few sentences that have been documented for Mawes, some example sentences are:[4]:497-8


ɛbɛ marsya nomtak
3SG yesterday come
‘He came yesterday.’


wɛdɛ ɛbɛ ketes
dog 3SG bite
‘The dog bit him.’


ke-me totoso kida-wɛn mamɛnta fɛn tamu(k)
man-? money 1SG-POSS father DAT/ALL give
‘That man gave money to my father.’


ɛbɛ-mɛ dengkin nambuak kom sorna
3sg-? tree machete INSTR cut
‘He is cutting wood with a machete.’


ke-me sau fɛn banak
man-? village DAT/ALL go
‘That man went to the village.’


ke-me sau-er nom
man-? village-ABL come
‘That man came from the village.’


ke-me yei dete banak
man-? woman COMIT go
‘That man went with his wife.’

Further reading

  • Wambaliau, Theresia. 2006. Survey Report on the Mawes Language in Papua, Indonesia. (in Indonesian). Unpublished manuscript. Jayapura: SIL Indonesia.
  • Hammarström, Harald. 2010. The genetic position of the Mawes language. Paper presented at the Workshop on the Languages of Papua 2. Manokwari, Indonesia, 8–12 February 2010.


  1. ^ Mawes at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mawes". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ New Guinea World
  4. ^ a b c d 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.
  5. ^ Harald Hammarström. 2010. The Genetic Position of the Mawes Language. Paper presented at the Workshop on the Languages of Papua 2, 8-12 February 2010, Manokwari, Indonesia.

External links