The Papuan Languages Thread

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Struthiomimus
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The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Struthiomimus » 2009-12-30, 19:53

Lately, I’ve become extremely fascinated with Papuan languages. I think this language family, like the Khoisan, is heavily understudied and it’d be great if more people were interested in these languages. Anyway, I’m opening this thread to see if anyone else is interested in or familiar with them.

But Struthiomimus, if I want to learn more about these languages, where can I go? Glad you asked. :wink:

For Abui:

lotpublications.nl/publish/articles/002298/bookpart.pdf

For Arapesh:

arapesh.org/

This site is still under construction, but there’s some info up already.

For Fataluku:

fataluku.com

fataluku.org

ling.lll.hawaii.edu/~uhdoc/fataluku/

I’m surprised there’s not more info on Bunak, the language with supposedly the largest number of speakers…all I came across was:

language-archives.org/language/bfn
[flag=]wbp[/flag] [flag=]qu[/flag] [flag=]eo[/flag] [flag=]wo[/flag] [flag=]rom[/flag] [flag=]csb[/flag] [flag=]lkt[/flag]

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby księżycowy » 2010-01-03, 14:47

They have a few good resources at SIL:
http://www.sil.org/pacific/png/index.asp

Search under subject, then pedagogical grammars or language textbooks
They only have about three 'textbooks' for Papuan languages (at least I think they're Papuan), but they are good none the less.
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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Struthiomimus » 2012-05-31, 2:57

Bump. Księżycowy, this is all I got. Hopefully, you can make the list grow. 8-)
[flag=]wbp[/flag] [flag=]qu[/flag] [flag=]eo[/flag] [flag=]wo[/flag] [flag=]rom[/flag] [flag=]csb[/flag] [flag=]lkt[/flag]

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Massimiliano B » 2012-06-01, 19:39

In this site there is this interesting publication and other grammar descriptions :)
Dette er nemlig Formelen, som beskriver Selvets Tilstand, naar Fortvivlelsen ganske er udryddet: i at forholde sig til sig selv, og i at ville være sig selv grunder Selvet gjennemsigtigt i den Magt, som satte det. (This is namely the formula, that describes the condition of the self, when despair is completely eradicated: by relating itself to itself, and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the power which constituted it) (Søren Kierkegaard, The sickness unto death)

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Struthiomimus » 2012-06-03, 21:18

Great find, Massi! Thanks! :) Is that also where you're getting your Binandere words from?
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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Massimiliano B » 2012-06-03, 23:02

No, I get them from here. This dictionary and grammar is under the name Zia-Binandere, but - as you can see - the actual title of the book is Grammar and dictionary of the Binandere language. This is one of the first PDF books I downloaded from Internet about three years ago :)
Dette er nemlig Formelen, som beskriver Selvets Tilstand, naar Fortvivlelsen ganske er udryddet: i at forholde sig til sig selv, og i at ville være sig selv grunder Selvet gjennemsigtigt i den Magt, som satte det. (This is namely the formula, that describes the condition of the self, when despair is completely eradicated: by relating itself to itself, and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the power which constituted it) (Søren Kierkegaard, The sickness unto death)

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Massimiliano B » 2012-10-23, 23:18

The site

http://www.sil.org/pacific/png/index.asp,

which has already been linked in this thread, has many grammar descriptions for Papuan and Austronesian languages spoken in New Guinea. There are also some texbooks. The only textbook for a Papuan language I've found is that of the Orokaiva language.
Dette er nemlig Formelen, som beskriver Selvets Tilstand, naar Fortvivlelsen ganske er udryddet: i at forholde sig til sig selv, og i at ville være sig selv grunder Selvet gjennemsigtigt i den Magt, som satte det. (This is namely the formula, that describes the condition of the self, when despair is completely eradicated: by relating itself to itself, and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the power which constituted it) (Søren Kierkegaard, The sickness unto death)

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby księżycowy » 2012-10-24, 17:40

Massimiliano B wrote: There are also some texbooks. The only textbook for a Papuan language I've found is that of the Orokaiva language.

I know, most of the textbooks they have are for Austronesian languages. :(
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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Massimiliano B » 2012-10-24, 21:56

Good thing that there's a textbook for the Orokaiva language :). This language belongs to the Trans New Guinea group and it has 35000 speakers. So, it is one of the most spoken Papuan languages! Other interesting languages are Rotokas, which possesses one of the world's smallest phoneme inventories (probably only the South American language Pirahã has fewer phonemes) - the SIL Pacific has a grammar description of this language here: http://www.sil.org/pacific/png/abstract.asp?id=50268 - and the Yele language, which has probably the biggest phoneme inventory on earth - I've read even bigger than that of Ubykh! Unfortunately there is neither a textbook nor a grammar description for this language in the SIL Pacific site! It has however phonology data: http://www.sil.org/pacific/png/abstract ... 8474542372. Another phonological description can be found here: http://archive.org/details/rosettaproject_yle_phon-1
Last edited by Massimiliano B on 2012-11-02, 1:16, edited 4 times in total.
Dette er nemlig Formelen, som beskriver Selvets Tilstand, naar Fortvivlelsen ganske er udryddet: i at forholde sig til sig selv, og i at ville være sig selv grunder Selvet gjennemsigtigt i den Magt, som satte det. (This is namely the formula, that describes the condition of the self, when despair is completely eradicated: by relating itself to itself, and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the power which constituted it) (Søren Kierkegaard, The sickness unto death)

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Struthiomimus » 2012-11-02, 0:38

Wow! Good find, Massi. Thanks!
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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2013-12-05, 7:07

Bump again! :D (Actually, I just found this thread. :P)

I want to learn some Oirata. It's like the westernmost Papuan language there is! Or something. :lol: Anyway, I'd like to use this story as a starting point (that link is for part 1; there's also a part 2). It's very little, but I'd like to get as much as I can out of it.

So far, all I've learned in Oirata (from that story! :lol:) is that rátei means 'eagle' in (I guess) vocative case, that it has the Austronesian loanword pitu 'seven', and that dedemana means 'night' (I think, although at one point it's translated in context as 'darkness', but I'm guessing that's because it's probably grammatical in this language to say something like 'we were living in the night' instead of '...in the darkness', which sounds a bit weird in English).

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2013-12-12, 6:22

This is a song in Oirata (I think its speakers call it Marao), but it also seems to have some Indonesian in it, although the YouTube description claims that it's "introducing Oirata language." There are a few other songs on this YouTube channel. One of them I think is just in Indonesian, but another is in English and Oirata, and I think there are some others in Oirata, too.

So, here's the song; it's called "Marao":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7oJYuKut4

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2013-12-16, 5:45

OK, so I've also learned that ráta means 'eagle' in nominative case (I think, and maybe it's also used to form the dative case form). I suspect that Apna-Apha means 'Creator' and uma means 'earth'. It seems that umajauele is also translated as 'Earth', though. Also, kaharlain seems to mean 'magpie'.

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2013-12-17, 1:58

Just a few notes here: That video I posted may not in fact be in Oirata but rather in Ambonese Malay. I'm not sure. Apparently, Oirata is only spoken by a few old people in (part of) Kisar.

Also, I found this paper: http://www.langlxmelanesia.com/7%20scha ... 94-242.pdf. I think it'll be useful because it does have some Oirata words in it and also talks about sound correspondences found between that and a few other Papuan languages from near that area. That paper also made it clear to me that Oirata is, in fact, not the westernmost Papuan language there is. That honor probably goes to the Western Pantar dialects (I don't know which one, but apparently, they're all mutually intelligible); see here.

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-01-10, 1:06

My goodness, it's been almost a whole month since I wrote anything here! (And in just seven hours, it's gonna be my one-year anniversary on UniLang :mrgreen:). I almost forgot I was learning this language. :oops: Not that anybody on UniLang these days would care :lol:

Needed to review uma and umajauele. According to that paper, uma means 'garden', and 'earth' is mua. :hmm: It seems that asa means 'bird'. I remember that from this poje asapoje part of the story. I guess poje has something to do with weeds; maybe it means 'weed'. Lapai means 'big' according to item #153 in this list, so leen must mean 'sky'. I can't figure out what pai means yet; maybe it means 'work' or something. :?

Well, OK, this Indonesian paper (here's the Google cached version, since I can't seem to access the original PDF at this point) glosses pai as 'bekerja', which means 'to work' in Indonesian. Huh, so I guess I pretty much got it right! :lol: No idea what to or ina'a means yet, though.

So, Creator + work(ed?) + something + something else + sky + large = ...oh, wait, we don't know yet, because that's only half of the first sentence! :lol: Oh, well. More next time, I guess! :P

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Itikar » 2014-01-10, 18:31

vijayjohn wrote:Not that anybody on UniLang these days would care :lol:

Well, I care and I find this thread pretty interesting. It's only that I haven't got that much to write, but I am an avid reader of these cool language learning adventures. Go on John. :)
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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby Wakarahen » 2014-01-14, 9:57

I'd like to say that I care as well :D The Papuan languages are really interesting, I applaud you for learning Oirata :yep: The song is nice :P

On a side note the westernmost Papuan language might've been Tambora, it was spoken over 600km west of Timor :shock:

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/oceanic_li ... ohue02.pdf

Unfortunately, all that survives can be summed up in one paper. I don't know enough about Papuan languages to make any meaningful insights or comparison, but I like the Tambora word for 'star' very much :D

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-01-15, 7:21

Thanks, guys! :D It's so nice to know that there are people looking at this thread besides...me. :lol:

Itikar wrote:Well, I care and I find this thread pretty interesting. It's only that I haven't got that much to write, but I am an avid reader of these cool language learning adventures. Go on John. :)

Grazie mille! BTW, it's actually Vijay. (John is my last name). :wink:

Wakarahen wrote:I'd like to say that I care as well :D The Papuan languages are really interesting, I applaud you for learning Oirata :yep: The song is nice :P

Thanks a lot to you, too!

On a side note the westernmost Papuan language might've been Tambora, it was spoken over 600km west of Timor :shock:

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/oceanic_li ... ohue02.pdf

Unfortunately, all that survives can be summed up in one paper.

Yeah, I think I read that Tambora was the westernmost language, but it's extinct now, so I think that leaves Western Pantar. :P

I don't know enough about Papuan languages to make any meaningful insights or comparison, but I like the Tambora word for 'star' very much :D

Heheheh "kingkong" :lol:

All righty, time to get back to that first sentence I was working on! :lol: I think actually the story itself might give me clues as to what to and ina'a mean (those are the two words I said I couldn't figure out last time). I think o'o means 'and' (between two nouns).

Whoa, hold everything! I just found an Oirata-Indonesian glossary online, from academia.edu! :o

It says umajauele (or <umayauele>, as it transcribes it) means 'bumi' whereas uma just means 'tanah'. In other words, umajauele means 'the Earth', whereas uma means just any 'earth' or 'ground'. Hmm, maybe that's why it's glossed as 'garden' in that other paper.

I wonder what that dictionary says about mua, actually...OK, I guess it doesn't have that word. Hmm...And apparently pai can just mean 'make'. AFAICT, though, it still doesn't tell us what to or ina'a might be. :? And sure enough, leen(e) is translated as 'langit' ('sky'), and I already found that lapai means 'big'. And o'o means 'and'...but they don't seem to say what ita'uthelere means, either. :? I'm guessing it means 'become one', but that's just a guess. :P The word for 'one' is something pretty different; it's u'wane.

OK, and it seems that neene means 'name'.

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-01-20, 5:24

All right, time for another lesson on/crack at Oirata! Moving on to the second sentence:

Leen lapai neene Maukou - OK, this part is pretty straightforward. "Sky big name Maukou," i.e. "the big sky's name was Maukou." (OK, they say "the name of the large sky," but whatever. Same thing! :lol:).

But then the next part of that sentence is umajauele tie neeneta Huimau. What do tie and that -ta at the end of neeneta mean?

Hmm...not sure about tie yet, but apparently, ta is some sort of reciprocal? But this ta must be different. 'Name (as a noun)' + 'each other' + Huimau doesn't seem to make much sense. :)

Well, OK, finally found a clue for tie. According to that dictionary, ululu tie a ate means 'pisau ini tajam' ('this sharp knife'), a ate means 'tajam' ('sharp'), and ululu means 'pisau' ('knife'). So tie must mean 'this'.

And it looks like -ta might actually be a suffix indicating possession, but it goes on the possessum, not the possessor. (I think that might be pretty typical for Papuan languages, actually). According to the dictionary (again :P), antte neneta Nazar means "Nama saya Nazar" (my name is Nazar), and ante means 'saya, aku' (both meaning 'I/me'. It's also in the song! :lol:). So, "earth this its name Huimau."

Next sentence: Wadu wanat tina'a ete-modo tarumodora tie onhali. "In those times no plants were living yet." I think wadu means 'time'...

No, wait, it actually means 'sun' (according to that article on the Papuan languages of Kisar and Timor). Or maybe it really means 'day' (according to the dictionary, which says 'hari' in Indonesian). :P Or maybe it's both; who knows?

Oh, wait, apparently watu means 'sun', and wadu means 'day'. (It seems that the <d> actually represents a voiceless retroflex stop, whereas the <t> is alveolar). I guess that makes more sense lol.

I couldn't tell at first what wanat meant, but I found this paper, which explained it:

https://encrypted.google.com/url?sa=t&r ... 8121,d.aWc

So wanat means 'night' (see p. 14/25 of that document, or just search for "wanat" in the paper). According to the paper, wadu wanat 'day and night' is one of a few lexical pairs that are identical to ones used in Leti, an Austronesian language spoken a bit to the east of Kisar (where Oirata is spoken). In Leti, the corresponding expression is lera mela. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, what about the next word, tina'a? Well, under watu, the dictionary says ina watu tina'a (shouldn't that be wadu? :P) means 'hari ini' ('today'). I have no idea what the ina is doing, because the dictionary says that means 'apa' ('what') or 'pertanyaan' ('question'); maybe the sentence really means 'what day is it today?' Anyway, this leads me to believe that tina'a, like tie, means something like 'this'. Maybe it's just tie with the last vowel deleted and some (locative? I dunno) suffix -na'a added?

Or maybe it means 'these'. :o Anyway, ete apparently means 'tree'. And apparently, modo means 'child'. So a plant is a "tree-child"! :D

Now, what does the next word, tarumodora, mean? We already know that modo means 'child'. The dictionary says taru means 'tali' ('rope'). Hmmm...:lol: OK, whatever. The last word we have now is onhali. What does that mean? :P

Well, the dictionary says onhale means 'not yet', so maybe that's what it really is. So I guess wadu wanat tina'a ete-modo tarumodora tie onhali = day + night + those + tree-child/plant + rope-child-SUBJ/TOPIC(?) + this + not.yet...? Well, that's my guess. :P

The next line is ha horia o'o nunu tapu lapai ta lause. I'm not going to do an exhaustive analysis of that yet, but we already know that o'o means 'and' and that lapai means 'big'. Horia (as we can see a few lines further down in the text) means what the text calls 'parna', and nunu is what it calls 'waringin'. I have no idea what either of these are supposed to be; I've been assuming they're some sort of local plants or something, but who knows? I'm guessing tapu means 'seed(s)'. Finally, according to the dictionary, ha means 'father'! :hmm: Not sure that's what it means here! :lol:

Meh, might as well finish off that sentence. :P Lause means 'to live'; the dictionary also says it can mean 'to grow' ('tumbuh', in addition to 'hidup'/'(to) live'). So I guess ha means 'only' or 'except' or something.

And yeah, it looks like "parna" and "waringin" are indeed Indonesian plants of some sort. Apparently, a "waringin" is something like a banyan tree.

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Re: The Papuan Languages Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-02-08, 5:14

OK, I guess I'll have to review most of the stuff that I posted last time, but I think I might as well go on with the text anyway. :lol:

So next sentence: Uma ono koune kemene. 'The earth was still in darkness.' I guess we've established that uma means 'earth'...but the other three words are new. :D

Can't seem to figure out what ono means. I'm guessing maybe it means 'still' (or 'again' or something like that).

Actually, I can't find seem to find any of those words! :lol:

Oh, OK, so this says that koune means 'dark'. :P

And yeah, ono means 'still'. The Indonesian dictionary includes under the Oirata word mamuka the sentence Umayauwele tie ono mamuka "Bumi ini masih kosong." meaning 'This land is still empty.' Mamuka means 'empty', and we already know that umayauwele (or umajauele in the text) means 'world' or whatever and that tie means 'this', so ono must mean 'still'.

Still don't know what kemene might mean (maybe 'remained' or 'within' or something?), but a comment on something I had found earlier: maybe etemodo tarumodo is a collective word for 'plants' - that is, the children of trees and of ropes (i.e. the things that produce trees and ropes, which are plants).

The next sentence is Asa riunu salini tirii no onhali 'There was not yet a multitude of birds.' We already know that asa means 'bird' and onhali means 'not yet'.

I was just trying to figure out what riunu means; I think it might mean 'multitude'. Or maybe it just means 'thousand(s)'. I'm not sure. Riunauni is listed in this previously mentioned resource as meaning 'one thousand'. In fact, I think I've partially figured out the Oirata numeral system: basically, to make any multiple of ten, you add "ta an-" before the numeral that you're multiplying by ten. For example, "ta anauni" means 'ten', where "auni" i think is just an alternative form of u'wane 'one'; similarly, "taanei" means 'twenty' (also "ta ane ene" = 20, from 'ei (2)), and "ta anlim" means 'fifty' (ta an + lim (5)).

"Rauni" means 'one hundred', and 'one thousand' is "riunauni."

I think I'll go with 'thousands' for now. I'm more curious about the salini tirii no part.

...And I have absolutely no idea what any of those three words means. :? Oh, well. I made a good effort for the night.


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