Dagan languages

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Meneao Range
Southeastern peninsula of New Guinea
Linguistic classificationTrans–New Guinea

The Dagan languages are a small family of Trans–New Guinea (TNG) languages spoken in the "Bird's Tail" (southeastern peninsula) of New Guinea, the easternmost Papuan languages on the mainland. They are sometimes included in a speculative Southeast Papuan branch of Trans–New Guinea (TNG), but the Southeast Papuan families have not been shown to be any more closely related to each other than they are to other TNG families.


The languages are:

Daga, Mapena, Maiwa, Dima (Jimajima), Ginuman, Kanasi (Sona), Onjob, Umanakaina (Gwedena), and the nearly extinct Turaka.

Although clearly related, they are not particularly close. The closest language to Umanakaina, for example, is Ginuman, which is only 23% lexically similar.


Pronouns are:

sg pl
1 *na *nu
2 *ga *ya
3 *me, *-e *m[a]u


Dagan reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma:[2]

Daga language:

  • ama ‘breast’ < *amu
  • meri(nawa) ‘tongue’ < *me(l,n)e
  • ira ‘tree’ < *inda

Kanasi language:

  • asi ‘ear’ < *kand(e,i)k(V]
  • etepa ‘bark’ < *(ŋg,k)a(nd,t)apu ‘skin’
  • obosa ‘wind’ < *kumbutu
  • oman ‘stone’ < *ka(m,mb)u[CV]
  • nene ‘bird’ < *n(e)i


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Dagan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". 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. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • 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.