Adzera language

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Region Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Native speakers
ca. 30,000  (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
adz – Adzera
zsu – Sukurum
zsa – Sarasira
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Adzera (also spelled Atzera, Azera, Atsera, Acira) is an Austronesian language spoken by about 30,000 people in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.



Front Back
High /i/ /u/
Low /ɑ/

The diphthongs /ɑi ɑu/ occur, while other sequences of vowels are split over two syllables.


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop Plain p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Prenasalized ᵐp ⁿt ᵑk ⁿʔ
Affricate Plain
Prenasalized ⁿtʃ
Nasal m n ŋ
Rhotic r
Fricative f s h
Approximant w j

/h/ occurs in only one word: the interjection hai "yes".

The prenasalized consonants tend to lose prenasalization initially and after consonants.

/tʃ ⁿtʃ/ are sometimes realized as [ts ⁿts], especially in codas.

Writing system[edit]

A a B b D d Dz dz F f G g H h I i K k M m Mp mp N n Nt nt
/ɑ/ /b/ /d/ /dʒ/ /f/ /ɡ/ /h/ /i/ /k/ /m/ /ᵐp/ /n/ /ⁿt/
Nts nts Ŋ ŋ Ŋk ŋk Ŋʼ ŋʼ P p R r S s T t Ts ts U u W w Y y ʼ
/ⁿtʃ/ /ŋ/ /ᵑk/ /ⁿʔ/ /p/ /r/ /s/ /t/ /tʃ/ /u/ /w/ /j/ /ʔ/

J, o and z are used in some loanwords and names.


  1. ^ Adzera at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Sukurum at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Sarasira at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)

Further reading[edit]

  • Cates, Ann R. (1974). "The Atzera literacy programme: An experimental campaign in Papua New Guinea". Papua New Guinea Journal of Education 10: 34–38. 
  • Holzknecht, K. G. (1973). "The phonemes of the Adzera language". Pacific Linguistics A 38: 1–11. 
  • Holzknecht, K. G. (1973). "Morphophonemics of the Adzera language". Pacific Linguistics A 38: 13–19. 
  • Holzknecht, K. G. (1973). "A synopsis of the verb forms in Adzera". Pacific Linguistics A 38: 21–28. 
  • Holzknecht, K. G. (1978). Adzera–English dictionary. 
  • Holzknecht, S. (1986). "A morphology and grammar of Adzera (Amari dialect), Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea". Pacific Linguistics A 70: 77–166. 
  • Howard, David Edward (2002). Continuity and given-new status of discourse referents in Adzera oral narrative. M.A. thesis. University of Texas at Arlington. 
  • Roke, Ann; Price, Dorothy (1970). A summary of the Atzera literacy programme. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.