Binanderean languages

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New Guinea
Linguistic classificationBinanderean–Goilalan[1]
  • Binanderean
Binanderean languages.svg
Map: The Binanderean languages of New Guinea
  The Binanderean languages
  Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages

The Binanderean languages are a family and part of the Trans–New Guinea languages (TNG) family in the classifications of Stephen Wurm (1975) and Malcolm Ross (2005). They are found along the northeast coast of the "Bird's Tail" of New Guinea, and appear to be a recent expansion from the north. The Binandere family proper is clearly valid; Ross added the Guhu-Semane isolate based on pronominal evidence, and this has been confirmed by Smallhorn (2011). Proto-Binanderean has been reconstructed in Smallhorn (2011). There is evidence that settlements of people speaking Oceanic languages along the Binanderean coast were gradually absorbed into inland communities speaking Binanderean languages (Bradshaw 2017).


Smallhorn (2011:444) provides the following classification for Greater Binanderean. Individual languages are given in italics.

According to Smallhorn (2011), there are two linkages, namely Central Binanderean and Nuclear Binanderean. Ross (2005) reconstructs both independent pronouns and verbal person prefixes:

sg. PN prefix
1 *na *a-
2 *ni *i-
3 *nu *u-

Only 1sg continues the TNG set.


Smallhorn (2011:3) provides population figures for the following Binanderean languages.

about 80,000


  1. ^ New Guinea World, Oro – Wharton Range
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Greater Binanderean". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • 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.
  • Smallhorn, Jacinta Mary (2011). The Binanderean languages of Papua New Guinea: reconstruction and subgrouping. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Bradshaw, Joel (2017). Evidence of contact between Binanderean and Oceanic languages. Oceanic Linguistics 56:395–414.

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