|South Halmahera – West New Guinea|
|The Maluku Islands in the Halmahera Sea, and the region of Cenderawasih Bay|
The Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages (red). The group at left is the Halmahera Sea languages; the one at right is the Cenderawasih Bay. (The black line is the Wallace Line.)
The Halmahera–Cenderawasih languages, or South Halmahera – West New Guinea (SHWNG) languages, are a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian, found in the islands and along the shores of the Halmahera Sea in the Indonesian province of North Maluku and of Cenderawasih Bay in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The unity of Halmahera–Cenderawasih is well supposed. They are traditionally said to be most closely related to the Oceanic languages, but there is little evidence for this view.
The traditional classification of the languages is into two geographic groups,
- South Halmahera languages (along the southeastern coast of Halmahera, plus one language in the east of the Bomberai Peninsula).
- West New Guinea languages (on the Raja Ampat Islands west of New Guinea, and the islands and shoreline of Cenderawasih Bay).
However, the unity of the South Halmahera and Raja Ampat languages is supported by phonological changes noted in Blust 1978 and by Bert Remijsen, the principal researcher of the Raja Ampat languages. This results in the following structure:
- Cenderawasih Bay
- Halmahera Sea