Kembra language

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Kembra
Native toWestern New Guinea
RegionOkbibab Subdistrict in Pegunungan Bintang Regency, east of the Sogber River
Ethnicity20–60% (2000?)[1]
Native speakers
20 (2000)[2]
Pauwasi
Language codes
ISO 639-3xkw
Glottologkemb1250[3]

Kembra is an unclassified Papuan language spoken in Western New Guinea by some twenty persons. It is used by between 20% and 60% of the ethnic population and is no longer passed down to children.

Classification[edit]

In 2007, on a Papuan language website, Mark Donohue reported that,

Murkim [and] Lepki [and] Kembra are, along with a number of other languages, unclassified groups living between the main cordillera and Mt. 6234, in the north of Papua near the PNG border (where 'near' = up to about 6 days' walk). They don't appear to be related to each other, based on wordlists, and they don't appear to show external affiliations.[1]

Foley (2018) does not exclude the possibility of Kembra being related to Lepki–Murkim, but leaves Kembra out as an isolate pending further evidence.[4]

Phonology[edit]

Kembra is a tonal language, as can be seen in the following minimal pair.[4]:464

  • ‘pig’
  • ‘fire, tree’

Basic vocabulary[edit]

Basic vocabulary of Kembra listed in Foley (2018):[5]

Kembra basic vocabulary
gloss Kembra
‘bird’ tra
‘blood’ nili
‘bone’ ka
‘eat’ ɲəm
‘egg’ traləl
‘eye’ yi
‘fire’ ya
‘give’ lokwes
‘ground’ to
‘hair’ iyet
‘I’ mu
‘leg’ kla
‘louse’ nim
‘man’ ratera
‘name’ kia
‘one’ kutina
‘see’ iyam
‘stone’ isi
‘sun’ ota
‘tooth’ pa
‘tree’ ya
‘two’ kais
‘water’ er
‘we’ utuas
‘you (sg)’ amagrei
‘you (pl)’ robkei

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kembra language at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. ^ Kembra at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kembra". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ 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.