Piawi languages

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Schraeder Range
Madang Province, Papua New Guinea
Linguistic classificationArafundi–Piawi
  • Piawi

The Piawi languages are a small independent family of Papuan languages in the classification of Malcolm Ross, which had been part of Stephen Wurm's Trans–New Guinea proposal.


Piawi consists of only two languages:

Davies and Comrie 1985 noted some pronominal similarities with the Engan languages in Trans–New Guinea, which Ross took into consideration, but no lexical similarities. Comrie believes the family is as isolate. William A. Foley suggested that Piawi and Arafundi may be related (Comrie 1992),[2] and according to Ross a connection with Arafundi or Ramu appears more promising than Engan. Timothy Usher confirms the link to Arafundi.[3]


Below is a comparison of proto-Piawi, proto-Ramu, Arafundi, and proto-North Engan pronouns, per Ross. Initial nasals are ubiquitous, and indeed are very common throughout New Guinea, so they are in themselves not good evidence of a relationship.

"I" "thou" "s/he" "we two" "you two" "we" "you"
pPiawi *ni-ga *na-ga *nu-ga *(n)ane-ga-li(mi) *ni-ga-li(mi) *ane-ga, *nane-ga *ni-ga
pRamu *aŋko, *ni *un, *nu *man *a-ŋk-a *(n)o-ŋk-oa *a-ni, *na-ni *u-ni, *nu-ni
Arafundi ɲiŋ nan nda aci niɲi nuŋ
pN Engan *na-ba *ne-ba *-ba *na-li-ba *ɲa-li-mba *na-ni-ma *ɲa-ma, *ɲa-ka-ma

Both Engan and Piawi have a dual suffix *li.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Piawi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Comrie, Bernard. "The recognition of the Piawi language family." In Tom Dutton, Malcolm Ross and Darrell Tryon, eds. The language game: Papers in memory of Donald C. Laycock. 111-113. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 1992.
  3. ^ NewGuineaWorld Arafundi and Upper Yuat Rivers
  • 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.

External links[edit]