Purari language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Native toPapua New Guinea
Regionnear the mouth of the Purari River in Gulf Province[1]
Native speakers
7,000 (2011)[2]
Binanderean–Goilalan[3] or unclassified
  • Purari
Language codes
ISO 639-3iar

Purari (Namau) is a Papuan language of Papua New Guinea.

Noting that the few similarities with the Eleman languages may be because of loanwords, Pawley and Hammarström (2018) leave it as unclassified rather than as part of Trans-New Guinea.[1]

Pronouns are 1sg nai, 2sg ni, 1pl enei. The first may resemble Trans–New Guinea *na, but Purari appears to be related to the Binanderean–Goilalan languages.[3]


Purari is also known as Koriki, Evorra, I'ai, Maipua, and Namau. "Namau" is a colonial term which means "deaf (lit.), inattentive, or stupid (Williams 1924: 4)." Today people of the Purari Delta find this term offensive. F.E. Williams reports that the "[a]n interpreter suggests that by some misunderstanding the name had its origin in the despair of an early missionary, who, finding the natives turned a deaf ear to his teaching, dubbed them all 'Namau'." (Williams 1924: 4). Koriki, I'ai, and Maipua refer to self-defining groups that make up the six groups that today compose the people who speak Purari. Along with the Baroi (formerly known as the Evorra, which was the name of a village site), Kaimari and the Vaimuru, these groups speak mutually intelligible dialects of Purari.


  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ Purari at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ a b New Guinea World, Oro – Wharton Range
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Purari". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Materials on Karnai are included in the open access Arthur Capell collections (AC1 and AC2) held by Paradisec
  • Paradisec has an open access collection from Tom Dutton (TD1) that includes Purari language materials