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Skou languages

Sko
Vanimo Coast
Geographic
distribution
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationNorth Papuan?
  • Sko
Subdivisions
Glottologskoo1245[1]

The Sko or Skou languages are a small language family spoken by about 7000 people, mainly along the coast of Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea, with a few being inland from this area and at least one just across the border in the Indonesian province of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya).

Typology

Skou languages are unusual among Papuan languages for being tonal; all Skou languages possess contrastive tone.[2] Vanimo, for example, has three tones, high, mid, low.

Lakes Plain languages, spoken in a discontiguous area to the southwest, are also tonal. Because of the apparent phonological similarities and sharing of stable basic words such as ‘louse’, Foley speculates the potential likelihood of a distant relationship shared between the Skou and Lakes Plain families, but no formal proposals linking the two families have been made due to insufficient evidence.[3] Additionally according to Foley, based on some lexical and phonological similarities, the Keuw language (currently classified as a language isolate) may also possibly share a deep relationship with the Lakes Plain languages.

Example minimal sets illustrating tonal contrasts in various Skou languages:[2]

  • I’saka: ẽyH ‘louse’, weyL ‘butterfly’, weyLH ‘house’, weyHL ‘language’
  • Barupu: eH ‘tooth’, eL ‘garden’, eHL ‘mosquito’, eHLH ‘write’
  • Wutung: hoH ‘roof thatch made from sago palm fronds’, hoL ‘star’, hoHL ‘grease’
  • Skou: taH ‘grass’, taL ‘hair’, taHL ‘arrow’

Skou languages can be isolating or polysynthetic.[2]

  • Isolating structure: Dumo, an Inner Skou language
  • Polysynthetic structure: Barupu, a Piore River language

Classification

Skou languages were first linked by G. Frederici in 1912. In 1941, K.H. Thomas expanded the family to its current extent.

The Sko family is not accepted by Søren Wichmann (2013), who splits it into two separate groups.[4]

Donohue (2007) and Donohue and Crowther (2005) list Nouri as a mixed language having features of both the Piore River and Serra Hills subgroups.[5][6]

Sko (Laycock 1975)

Laycock posited two branches, Vanimo and Krisa:

Skou (Ross 2005)

However, Krisa is poorly supported and Malcolm Ross abandoned it,

Macro-Skou linkage (Donohue 2002)

Mark Donohue proposed a subclassification based on areal diffusion he called Macro-Skou.

Sko (Foley 2018)

Foley (2018) provides the following classification.[2]


Sko

I'saka

Piore River

Barupu / Warupu (Bauni)

Ramo (Uni)

Sumo (Bouni)

Serra Hills

Puare

Womo

Waro

Inner Sko

Skou

Leitre

Dumo

Dusur

Nyao / Sangke

Wutung

Foley's Inner Sko corresponds to Donohue's Western Skou.

The Piore River branch has been renamed Lagoon by Miller (2017).[7] The older names of the Piore River languages were from village names; Miller has since renamed them as Bauni, Uni, Bouni, and Bobe.

Lagoon (also Piore River)

  • Bauni (Barapu and Warapu villages)
  • Uni (Ramo village)
  • Bouni (Sumo village)
  • Bobe (Nouri village)

Pronouns

The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto-Skou are,

I *na we *ne
thou *me you ?
he *ka they (M) *ke
she *bo they (F) *de

The Skou languages also have a dual, with a distinction between inclusive and exclusive we, but the forms are not reconstructable for the proto-language.

Cognates

Sko family cognates (I'saka, Barupu, Wutung, Skou) listed by Foley (2018):[2]

Sko family cognates
gloss I'saka Barupu Wutung Skou
‘hand’ dou eno noʔɛ̃ no
‘tooth’ e ʔũ kə̃
‘breast’ ni to no no
‘woman’ bu bom wũawũa pɛɨma
‘bird’ ru
‘dog’ naki naʔi nake
‘water’ wi pi pa
‘old’ tuni tɔra rõtoto
‘eat’ a ou (u)a a

See also

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sko". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c d e Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". 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. 197–432. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages. In: Hammarström, Harald and Wilco van den Heuvel (eds.), History, contact and classification of Papuan languages (Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012), 313-386. Port Moresby: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea.
  5. ^ Donohue, Mark; Crowther, Melissa (2005). "Meeting in the middle: interaction in North-Central New Guinea". 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. 167–184. ISBN 0-85883-562-2. OCLC 67292782.
  6. ^ Donohue, Mark P. 2007. A Grammar of the Skou Language of New Guinea. Unpublished manuscript.
  7. ^ Miller, Steve A. 2017. Skou Languages Near Sissano Lagoon, Papua New Guinea. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia 35: 1-24.
  • Laycock, Donald C. (1975). "Sko, Kwomtari, and Left May (Arai) phyla". In Stephen A. Wurm (ed.). Papuan languages and the New Guinea linguistic scene: New Guinea area languages and language study 1. Canberra: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. pp. 849–858. OCLC 37096514.
  • 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