Border languages (New Guinea)

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Tami River – Bewani Range
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationNorth Papuan?
  • Border
  • Taikat
  • Bewani
  • Senggi
  • Morwap

The Border or Upper Tami[2] languages are an independent family of Papuan languages in Malcolm Ross's version of the Trans–New Guinea proposal. They are named after the Indonesia – Papua New Guinea border, which they span.


There is also Ningera.

Laycock classified Morwap as an isolate, but noted pronominal similarities with Border. Ross included Morwap in Border but noted that they do not appear to share any lexical similarities. However, his Morwap data were quite poor. Usher included it as a branch of Border.


The pronouns that Ross reconstructs for proto-Border are the following:

I *ka exclusive we *kia- ?
inclusive we *bile ?
thou *je you ?
s/he *ihe they *ihe- ?


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Border". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Cowan (1957) tentatively proposed a "Tami" family, named after the Tami River, that included the modern Border and Sko language families. Some of the previously unclassified languages did turn out to be Sko, and were added to that family; the remainder (including the languages of the upper Tami) constitute the Border family.
  • 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.