|Linguistic classification:||Trans–New Guinea
Map: The Madang languages of New Guinea
The Madang languages
Other Trans–New Guinea languages
Other Papuan languages
The Madang or Madang–Adelbert Range languages are the largest family of Trans–New Guinea languages (TNG). It was classified as Trans–New Guinea by Stephen Wurm, followed by Malcolm Ross. William Foley concurs that it is "highly likely" that the Madang languages are part of TNG, despite the fact that the pronouns, the usual basis for classification in TNG, have been replaced in Madang.
Sidney Herbert Ray identified the Rai Coast family in 1919. In 1951 these were linked with the Mabuso languages by Arthur Capell to create his Madang family. John Z'graggen (1971, 1975) expanded Madang to languages of the Adelbert Range and renamed the family Madang–Adelbert Range, and Wurm (1975) adopted this as a branch of his Trans–New Guinea phylum. For the most part, Ross's (2005) Madang family includes the same languages as Z'graggen Madang–Adelbert Range, but the internal classification is different in several respects, such as the dissolution of the Brahman branch.
There are four well-defined branches of Madang,
plus the Kowan languages, whose classification is uncertain.
The time depth of Madang is comparable to that of Austronesian or Indo-European. Ross (2000) places the Kowan languages closest to Southern Adelbert, and links Rai Coast and Kalam. Pronouns are as follows:
sg pl 1 *ya *i 2 *na *ni, *ta 3 *nu
These replaced the TNG pronouns. However, the dual suffixes *-le and *-t remain, and the original pronouns appear to live on as Kalam verbal suffixes.
- 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.
- Pawley, Ross, & Osmond, 2005. Papuan languages and the Trans New Guinea phylum. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 38–51.
- The Madang–Adelbert Range languages in Multitree, showing both Z'graggen's and Wurm's classifications