Paniai Lakes languages

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Paniai Lakes
Wissel Lakes
Highlands of Irian Jaya
Linguistic classificationTrans–New Guinea

The Paniai Lakes languages, also known as the Wissel Lakes or Wissel Lakes – Kemandoga River, are a small family of closely related Trans–New Guinea languages spoken in the highlands of Irian Jaya in the Paniai Lakes region of West Papua. Foley (2003) considers their Trans–New Guinea status to be established.


The languages are:

Wolani, Moni, Ekari, AuyeDao.

They may be most closely related to the Dani languages, but this is not yet clear.


Independent pronouns and possessive prefixes are:

sg du pl
1 *ani, *na- *ina *ini, *ni-
2 *aka, *ka- *ika *iki
3 *oka, *e-


Paniai Lakes reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:[2]

Ekari language:

  • ama ‘breast’ < *amu
  • benáî ‘arm’ < *mbena
  • modo ‘belly’ < *mundun
  • ama ‘breast < *amu
  • kado ‘skin’ < *k(a,o)(nd,t)apu
  • yame ‘louse’ < *niman
  • mei- ‘come’ < *me
  • wawa ‘father’ < *mbapa
  • mana ‘speech, talk’ < *mana ‘instructions’
  • tani ‘sun’ < *ketane

Moni language:

  • ama ‘breast’ < *amu
  • (duku)mudu ‘heart’ < *mundun ‘internal organs, belly’
  • ada ‘skin’ < *k(a,o)(nd,t)apu
  • pane ‘woman’ < *panV
  • timu ‘night’ < *k(i,u)tuma
  • homa ‘stone’ < *ka(mb,m)uCV
  • usa ‘tree’ < *inda
  • me- ‘come’ < *me-


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Paniai Lakes". 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.