Kwalean languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Southeastern peninsula of New Guinea
Linguistic classificationTrans–New Guinea

The Kwalean languages are a small family of Trans–New Guinea languages spoken in the "Bird's Tail" (southeastern peninsula) of New Guinea. 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:

HumeneUare (Kwale), Mulaha (extinct).


Humene and Uare are quite close (70% basic vocabulary), Mulaha more distant (22% with Uare).

The Kwalean family is not accepted by Søren Wichmann (2013), who splits it into two separate groups, namely HumeneUare and Mulaha.[3]


Pronouns are as follows:

sg pl
1 ?
2 *ɣa, *a *ya, *-ya
3 *ani, *e


Kwale reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:[4]

  • maɣa ‘egg’ < *maŋgV
  • oda ‘leg’ < *k(a,o)ndok[V]
  • nomone ‘louse’ < *niman
  • ire ‘tree’ < *inda

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ New Guinea World, Owen Stanley Range
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kwalean". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  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.
  4. ^ 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.