Yali language

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RegionHighlands of Irian Jaya
Native speakers
(30,000 cited 1988–1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
yli – Anggurk Yali
nlk – Ninia Yali
yac – Pass Valley Yali

Yali (Yaly, Jalè, Jaly) is a Papuan language of Indonesian New Guinea. The Yali people live east of the Baliem Valley, in the Western Highlands.

Dialectical differentiation is great enough that Ethnologue assigns separate codes to three varieties:

  • Pass Valley, also known as Abendago, North Ngalik, and Western Yali; subdialects are Pass Valley, Landikma, Apahapsili.
  • Ninia, also known as North Ngalik and Southern Yali (Yali Selatan).
  • Angguruk, also known as Northern Yali.

However, almost nothing is known of this language. Not even the pronouns were attested for Ross (2005) to base a classification on. With this said, new data is currently being elicited from correspondence between Quinn Cunningham and Felix Neckweck.


The phonology of the Yali language[3]:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiced b d k/ɡ
prenasal mb nd ŋɡ
Fricative f s h
Nasal m n
Lateral l
Implosive ɗ
Approximant w j

A /ɡ/ sound at the end of words is pronounced /ʁ/.

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Low a

Basic words and phrases[edit]

The following is a list of basic words and phrases in the Yali language:

  • howam fano wellahen - how are you
  • waa waa - thank you
  • ninim ar - you're welcome
  • nomin - friend
  • fano - good
  • ari - that
  • du - this
  • eke - and
  • nune - speak/talk
  • inune - language
  • nare - man
  • nowam - my news/state
  • howam - your (sg.) news/state
  • wellahi - for myself
  • wellahen - for yourself
  • wallahen - for him/herself
  • wallahi - for ourselves
  • wellahep - for yourselves/themselves
  • fam - *end of statement particle
  • an nahien - I am pleased
  • an ari nindi - I like that
  • an den angge - I have
  • ar an nomin - S/he is my friend
  • ir an nomini - They are my friends
  • ar nomin fano - S/he is a good friend
  • ir an nomini Amerikoan - My friends are from America
  • an nune Yali inune fam - I speak Yali


Personal pronouns of the Yali language

Free Pronouns
Singular Plural
1st Person an nir
2nd Person har hir
3rd Person ar ir


  1. ^ Anggurk Yali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Ninia Yali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Pass Valley Yali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Yalic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Fahner, Christiaan (1979). The Morphology of Yali and Dani: A Descriptive and Comparative Analysis.
  • 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.