West Bird's Head languages

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West Bird's Head
Linguistic classificationWest Papuan
  • West–Central Bird's Head
    • West Bird's Head

West Bird's Head languages are a small family of poorly documented Papuan languages spoken on the Bird's Head Peninsula of New Guinea.

The West Bird's Head Family is a well-defined family of six languages spoken at the western end of the Bird's Head Peninsula of New Guinea and the eastern part of the island of Salawati opposite the Bird's Head's western shore.

Language contact[edit]

West Bird's Head languages have been heavily influenced by Austronesian languages. Austronesian influence is evident in SVO word order (as opposed to SOV word order in most other Papuan language families), pronouns, numerals, and other typological features.[2]:625


Kuwani is attested only from a single word list, but is clearly distinct.[3]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "West Bird's Head". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian (2018). "The Papuan languages of East Nusantara and the Bird's Head". 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. 569–640. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ Voorhoeve, C.L. 1975. West Papuan Phylum languages on the mainland of New Guinea: Bird's Head (Vogelkop) Peninsula. Papuan Languages and the New Guinea Linguistic Scene, ed. by S.A. Wurm, 717-28. (Pacific Linguistics C-38). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.