Wogamus languages

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western East Sepik Province, in the Upper Sepik River basin of Papua New Guinea
Linguistic classificationSepik

The Wogamus languages are a pair of closely related languages,

Wogamusin and Chenapian.

They are generally classified among the Sepik languages of northern Papua New Guinea; Malcolm Ross and William A. Foley (2018)[2] place them in the Upper Sepik branch of that family.

The Wogamus languages are spoken along the banks of the Sepik River in western East Sepik Province, just to the east of the Iwam languages.

Noun classes[edit]

Wogamus languages have noun classes reminiscent of those found in Bantu languages. Noun classes in Wogamusin and Chenapian are listed below, with Wogamusin -um and Chenapian -mu ‘three’ used as examples.[2]

Class no. Semantic category Wogamusin prefix Chenapian prefix Wogamusin example Chenapian example
1 humans s(i)- s(i)- s-um si-mu
2 higher animals: dogs, pigs, etc. r- gw- r-um gw-umu
3 plants, trees, vines, etc. b- b- b-um b-umu
4 no specific pattern h- n- h-um n-əmu
5 no specific pattern ŋgw- kw- ŋgw-um kw-umu


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wogamusin-Chenapian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". 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. 197–432. 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.