Mantion–Meax languages

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East Bird's Head
Linguistic classificationWest Papuan
  • East Bird's Head
    • Mantion–Meax
  • Mantion
  • Meax
East Bird's Head languages.png
East Bird's Head languages (in red)

The Mantion–Meax or East Bird's Head languages form a language family of three languages in the "Bird's Head Peninsula" of western New Guinea, spoken by 20,000 people.


East Bird's Head stock (3 languages)


The pronouns Ross reconstructs for the proto-language (Usher's Southeast Bird's Head) are:

Person Singular Plural
exclusive inclusive
1st *da, *di- *meme, *me- *mimi, *mi-
2nd *ba, *bi- *ia, *i-
3rd *e, *- *rua, *ri-

Basic vocabulary[edit]

Lexical similarities among East Bird's Head languages (Meyah, Moskona, Sougb, Hatam, Mansim) listed in Holton & Klamer (2018):[2]

East Bird's Head family basic vocabulary
gloss Meyah Moskona Sougb Hatam Mansim
‘bird’ mem mem ba hab waw
‘louse’ mej mej mem mem
‘one’ egens erges hom gom wom
‘night’ motu mot loba mmun
‘I’ didif dif dan dani danu

Additional East Bird's Head basic vocabulary quoted by Holton & Klamer (2018)[2] from Miedema & Reesink (2004: 34) and (Reesink 2005: 202), showing diverse non-cognate vocabulary across different branches:[3][4]

Additional East Bird's Head basic vocabulary
gloss Meyah Moskona Sougb Hatam
arm/hand etma etma s(i)ra ndab
leg/foot aki egak/oko ohora mig
house mod mod tu ig
good oufa ojfa eigouh kei
dog mes mes mihi nsien
pig mek mek hwej nab
chicken mongkukar memkoar berougb guri
louse mej mej mem mem
water/river mei mij uhu nyei
banana meni nej wida

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "East Bird's Head". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ Miedema, Jelle and Ger P. Reesink. 2004. One Head, Many Faces: New perspectives on the Bird’s Head Peninsula of New Guinea. Leiden: KITLV.
  4. ^ Reesink, Ger P. 2005. West Papuan languages: roots and development. In: Pawley et al. (eds.) 185–218.

Further reading[edit]

  • Reesink, Ger P. (2002). "The Eastern Bird's Head Languages Compared". In Ger P. Reesink (ed.) (eds.). Languages of the Eastern Bird's Head. Pacific Linguistics. 524. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. pp. 1–44.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)

External links[edit]