|Keram and Ramu Rivers|
|Western Madang Province and Eastern East Sepik Province, Northern Papua New Guinea|
|Linguistic classification||Ramu–Lower Sepik|
The Ramu languages are a family of some thirty languages of Northern Papua New Guinea. They were identified as a family by John Z'graggen in 1971 and linked with the Sepik languages by Donald Laycock two years later. Malcolm Ross (2005) classifies them as one branch of a Ramu – Lower Sepik language family. Z'graggen had included the Yuat languages, but that now seems doubtful.
With no comprehensive grammar yet available for any of the Ramu languages, the Ramu group remains one of the most poorly documented langauge groups in the Sepik-Ramu basin.
The small families listed below in boldface are clearly valid units. The first five, sometimes classified together as Lower Ramu, are relatable through lexical data, so their relationship is widely accepted.
Languages of the Ottilien family share plural morphology with Nor–Pondo.
Laycock (1973) included the Arafundi family, apparently impressionistically, but Arafundi is poorly known. Ross (2005) retains it in Ramu without comment, but Foley (2005) and Usher reject inclusion. Laycock (1973) also includes the Piawi languages as a branch, but Ross (2005), Foley (2005) and Usher all reject their inclusion.
Usher breaks up the Grass/Keram family. His classification of Ramu (with both his own and traditional names) as of 2018 is as follows:
The pronouns reconstructed by Ross (2005) for Proto-Ramu are:
|I||*aŋko, *ni||we two||*a-ŋk-a||we||*ai, *nai, *a-ni, *na-ni|
|thou||*un, *nu||you two||*o-ŋk-oa, *no-ŋk-oa||you||*ne, *u-ni, *nu-ni|
|s/he||*man||they two||*mani-ŋk ?||they||*mə, *nda, *manda|
Proto-Ramu forms that are widespread across the family are:
|‘dative case marker’||*mV|