Asmat–Kamrau languages

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EthnicityAsmat people etc.
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationTrans–New Guinea
Asmat-Kamoro languages.svg
Map: The Asmat–Kamrau languages of New Guinea
  The Asmat–Kamrau languages
  Other Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages

The Asmat – Kamrau Bay languages are a family of a dozen Trans–New Guinea languages spoken by the Asmat and related peoples in southern Western New Guinea. They are believed to be a recent expansion along the south coast, as they are all closely related, and there is little differentiation in their pronouns.


The languages are:[2]


Pronouns are:

sg pl
1 *no[ro] *na[re]
2 *o[ro]/we[rV] *ca[re]
3 *a[re]


Proto-Asmat-Kamoro reflexes (Voorhoeve 2005)[4] of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma, as listed in Pawley & Hammarström (2018):[5]

  • *fiti ‘fingernail’ < pTNG *mb(i,u)t(i,u)C
  • *isi ‘mosquito’ < *kasin
  • *ese ‘blood’ < *kenja
  • *masap or *masip ‘saliva’ < *si(mb,p)atV
  • *yi ‘urine’ < *[si]si
  • *asa ‘excrement’ < *asa
  • *manaka ‘eye’ < *mun(a,e,i)ka
  • *sisi ‘tooth’ < *(t,s)i(t,s)i
  • *yirama ‘night’ < *k(i,u)tama
  • *tama ‘morning’ < *k(i,u)tama
  • *na- ‘eat’ < *na-


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Asmat–Kamoro". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ New Guinea World, Asmat – Kamrau Bay
  3. ^ New Guinea World, Kamrau Bay
  4. ^ Voorhoeve, Clemens L. 2005. Asmat-Kamoro, Awyu-Dumut and Ok: An enquiry into their linguistic relationship. In Pawley, Andrew and Robert Attenborough and Golson, Jack and Hide, Robin (eds.), Papuan Pasts: Studies in the Cultural, Linguistic and Biological History of the Papuan-speaking Peoples, 145-166. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.
  5. ^ Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". 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. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.


  • Drabbe. 1953. Spraakkunst van de Kamoro-taal. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  • Drabbe. 1963. Drie Asmat-dialecten. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, No. 42. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  • 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.
  • Voorhoeve, C.L. 1965. The Flamingo Bay Dialect of the Asmat language. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, No. 46. The Hague.
  • Voorhoeve, C.L. 1968. "The Central and South New Guinea Phylum: a report on the language situation in south New Guinea." Pacific Linguistics, Series A, No. 16: 1-17. Canberra: The Australian National University.
  • Voorhoeve, C.L. 1975. Languages of Irian Jaya: Checklist, Preliminary Classification, Language Maps, Wordlists. Pacific Linguistics, Series B, No. 31. Canberra: The Australian National University.
  • Voorhoeve, C.L. 1980. The Asmat Languages of Irian Jaya. Pacific Linguistics, Series B, No. 64. Canberra: The Australian National University.
  • Wurm, Stephan Adolphe. 1983. The Papuan Languages of Oceania. Ars Linguistica 7. Tübingen: Narr.