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Yam languages

Yam
Morehead and Upper Maro Rivers
Morehead–Wasur
Geographic
distribution
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationTrans-Fly – Bulaka River or independent language family
  • Yam
Subdivisions
  • Kanum
  • Yey
  • Nambu
  • Tonda
Glottologmore1255[1]
Morehead and Upper Maro River languages.svg
Map: The Yam languages of New Guinea
  Yam languages
  Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages
  Australian languages
  Uninhabited

The Yam languages, also known as the Morehead and Upper Maro River languages, are a family of Papuan languages. They include many of the languages south and west of the Fly River in Papua New Guinea and Indonesian West Papua.

Name

The name Morehead and Upper Maro River refers to the area around the Morehead and Maro rivers. Most of the languages are found between these rivers, but the Nambu subgroup are spoken east of the Morehead. Evans (2012) refers to the family instead with the more compact name Yam. This name is motivated by a number of linguistic and cultural items of significance: yam (and cognates) means "custom, tradition"; yəm (and cognates) means "is"; and yam tubers are the local staple and of central cultural importance.

External relationships

Ross (2005) tentatively includes the Yam languages in the proposed Trans-Fly – Bulaka River family. More recently (Evans 2012) has argued that this is not justified and more data has to be gathered. Evans (2018) classifies the Pahoturi River languages as an independent language family.[2]

Classification[citation needed]

 Yam 

Yey

Tonda (a dialect chain): Kanum (five distinct languages: Smerky, Taemer, Barkari, Ngkolmpu, Baedi), Rema, Blafe, Ránmo, Arammba, Warta Thuntai, Kánchá, Kémä, Wára, Wérè, Kómnzo, Anta

Nambu: Nama, Namat, Neme, Ndre, Nambu, Namo (Nä), Lä (Len), Nen

The Morehead-Wasur (Yam) family is not accepted by Søren Wichmann (2013), who splits it into two separate groups.[3]

Languages

Yam languages are spoken by up to 3,000 people on both sides of the border in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. In Papua New Guinea, Yam languages are spoken in Morehead Rural LLG, Western Province. In Papua, Indonesia, Yam languages are spoken in Merauke Regency.[2]

Yam languages and respective demographic information listed by Evans (2018) are provided below.[2]

List of Yam languages
Language Alternative names Subgroup Speakers Villages or hamlets
Anta Tokwe, Upper Morehead, Thamnga Tonda 150 Ufarua, Forzitho, Thamgakar in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Komnzo Kamundjo, Upper Morehead, (Mema, Ranzér), Zókwasi, Farem Tonda 200 Rouku, Gunana, Morehead, Firra, Masu, Kanathér in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Wára Tjokwe, Upper Morehead, Wära, Mät Tonda 350 Yokwa, (Mäwsa, Kwaikér, Zäzér Ménz) in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Wérè Tokwe, Upper Morehead, Wórä Tonda 100 Tokwa, Kanfok in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Kémä Upper Morehead Tonda 130 Wämnefér in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Kánchá Kunja, Lower Morehead, Peremka, Kénzä Tonda 350* Bondobol, Bula, Jarai in southeast Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Ránmo Tonda, Renmo, Blafe Tonda 200* Yéndorodoro, Mengete in west Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Mblafe Blafe, Blafe Wonana, Tonda Tonda 350* Weam, Kandarisa, Wereaver (only recently in Wereaver) in west Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Warta Thuntai Guntai, Kan Tonda 430 Wando, Bensbach, Balamuk, Korombo 1, Korombo 2 in mid southwest Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Arammba None Tonda 750 Fwasam, Gowi, Kiriwa, Meru, Sedefi, Serki in north central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Nggarna Ngar, Kanum, Sota Tonda unknown Vicinity of Sota in west Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Rema Tonda 10? (moribund or extinct) Wereaver in west Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Smerki Smärki, Kanum, Barkari Tonda 150 Rawu Biru, Tomer, Tomerau, Yakiw in southeast Merauke Regency, Indonesia
Tamer Smerki, Smärki, Kanum Tonda 120 Yanggandur (recently moved there) in southeast Merauke Regency, Indonesia
Ngkontar Ngkontar, Ngkolmpu Tonda 100 Yanggandur in southeast Merauke Regency, Indonesia and into PNG
Ngkolmpu Kiki, Ngkntra Kiki, Kanum, Enkelembu, Kenume, Knwne Tonda east Merauke Regency, Indonesia and into PNG
Bedi Ngkolmpu Kanum, Enkelembu, Kenume, Knwne Tonda 5 (moribund or extinct) Onggaya in south central Merauke Regency, Indonesia
Yei Yei 1278 Po, Torai, Bupul, Tanas, Kwel in east Merauke Regency, Indonesia
Nen Nambu 350 Bimadeben in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Nama Nambu 1200 Daraia, Mata, Ngaraita in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Namat Mibini Nambu 170* Mibini in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Nambo Nmbo, Keraki; Namna, Yarne Nambu 710 Nambo variety: Gubam, Bebdeben, Arufi in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG; Namna variety: Pongarki, Derideri in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Neme Nambu 200 Keru, Mitere in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Dre Ndre Nambu 1 Ramar in central Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Namo Nambu 374* Tais, Mari in south Morehead Rural LLG, PNG
Len Nambu 8–10 Now living in Tais, original village was Yaoga in south Morehead Rural LLG, PNG

Pronouns

The pronouns Ross (2005) reconstructs for the family are,

Proto-Yam (Proto–Morehead – Upper Maro)
I/we *ni
you *bu
s/he/they *be

Further reading

  • Carroll, Matthew J., Nicholas Evans, I Wayan Arka, Christian Döhler, Eri Kashima, Volker Gast, Tina Gregor, Julia Miller, Emil Mittag, Bruno Olsson, Dineke Schokkin, Jeff Siegel, Charlotte van Tongeren & Kyla Quinn. 2016. Yamfinder: Southern New Guinea Lexical Database.

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Morehead–Wasur". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c Evans, Nicholas (2018). "The languages of Southern 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. 641–774. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ 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.