Daga language

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Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionMilne Bay Province
Native speakers
9,000 (2007)[1]
Trans–New Guinea
Language codes
ISO 639-3dgz

Daga (Dimuga, Nawp) is a non-Austronesian language of Papua New Guinea. Daga is spoken by about 9,000 people as of 2007.[3] The peoples that speak Daga are located in the Rabaraba subdistrict of Milne Bay district, and in the Abau subdistrict of the Central district of Papua New Guinea.[4]


The people who speak Daga live in the Rabaraba subdistrict of the Milne Bay Province on Papua New Guinea. This province is about 5,405.4 sq mi (14,000km2) with a population of 209,054 people. The

The Milne Bay Province is illustrates in section 10.

Economy of the province is brought by tourism, palm oil, and gold mining on Misima Island.

During World War II, the Battle of Milne Bay took place in the province giving it some other significance.

The Massim, the people of Milne Bay, have exchanged culture with nearby islands and gained many rituals from nearby including the Kula ring. The people of the Massim are characterized by matrilineal descent.[5]

The people of Milne Bay while distinct from, are still in culture sync with Papua New Guinea. The remote, wild, and pristine lands of Papua New guinea holds a lot of diversity. There are over 7000 different cultures in Papua New Guinea although there is only about 7 million people living there.[6] The people of Papua New Guinea have strong ties to music having spontaneous and coordinated acts of musical expression throughout the year.


Daga has thirteen consonants and five vowels.[4]

Vowel Phonemes
Front Back
Close i u
Mid o
Open e a
Consonant Phonemes
Bilabial Bilabial Rounded Labiodental Dental Alveolar Velar
Stop p b t d k g
Nasal m n
Semivowel w y
Lateral r
Fricative v s



In Daga, there are some rules for how to make morphemes. some include, the ending of stems other than G, R, S, and W add /a/ if the next suffix is a consonant-initial suffix. If the final consonant of a prefix is before a consonant-initial stem, the manner of articulation of the final consonant of the prefix is changed to match the manner of articulation of the initial consonant of the stem. When the morpheme has initial phoneme /w/ is comes before the vowel /o/ or /u/, the /w/ is lost in the final word. When the final phoneme of a preceding morpheme and the initial phoneme of a following morpheme are both vowels, the initial-vowel of the following morpheme is lost unless that phoneme is /i/, in which case it is left as is. For all nouns, the final vowel is -e.


When the consonants G, R, S, and W end a stem or suffix they have a phoneme change based on the following phoneme.[4]

Morpheme Followed by /i/ or /e/ Followed by /a/, /o/, or /u/ Followed by Consonant Word Final
g g g --- k
r r r ra t
s s t --- t
w v w wa o

This rule has exceptions for these three words:

unuG -nege -en ununegen
yagiR -nege -iwan yaginegiwan
ewaS -nege -en ewanegen


In Daga, word stems are the part of the word that gives the word meaning. Compound word stems are often a verb stem followed by a combination of the verb yaw ("see") .

wa ('say') + yaw ('see') = wayaw ('ask')

This works with all verb stems and completely changes the meaning of the verb stem. Prefix-derived verb stems are verb stems that follow one of four prefixes, wa-, to-, en-, and a-. These prefixes are used to classify the verb stem to identify a certain thing or group of thing. The prefix wa- on a verb stem makes the verb stem only apply to one subject. The prefix to- means that the verb will be changed to involve hitting a singular subject. The prefix en- means the action depicted by the verb is changed to match an action that involves sticking into an object. The prefix a- also adjusts the verb stem to involve biting. Adjective-derived verb stems are verbs that are created by using an adjective stem and verbalization to create a verb out of an adjective. For example, the word tama ('straight') followed by the verbalization -am creates an outcome of the word tamanam ('correct'). There are also noun-derived verb stems which like adjective-derived verb stems use a verbalization and a noun stem to create a verb from a noun. An example of this is when the word ago ('servant') with the verbalization -at becomes agat ('help'). This concept of deriving words from other stems of other classifications also carries across to nouns and adjectives, where Daga has verb-derived noun stems which is when a verb can be nominalized by the suffix -at and becomes a noun. Although the stems give meaning to the word, the word isn't complete without a suffix.[4]


In Daga, like many other languages has many different classifications of words. Clitics in Daga is a classification of word which can then be classified again down into 3 more classes, location clitics which describe are used to illustrate location of a noun, substantive clitics which are the last word in a substantive clause or a nominalized clause, and included-clause clitics are used to complete clauses using homophuous medical suffixes. Postpositions are a classification of words that are similar in their manner of usage as that of a clitic in which it is used to mark location, accompaniment, comparison, and temporal construction. Positionals can also be used with personal markers to give location or demonstrate accompaniment alongside a person.[4]

Person Markers
Singluar Plural
1 -ma -nu
2 -ga -ya
3 # -mu


Long phrases are extremely uncommon in Daga.

In Daga, there are two intensifiers, di which is used with any phrase to add emphasis, and iren is used after a noun, adjective, and positional to add specificity. Conjunctions are used to join phrases, clauses, and sentences. The conjunctions that do these things can be considered different classifications.

Phrase Clause Temporal English
ge e/si/di and
go/o go/o or
menan/gapan/anega therefore
iwa because
go/ae but
mini/umap like
anega likewise
boge immediately
gatawan later
amba then
evi later


Daga uses ya as a prefix to illustrate negative tagmeme of the normal verb phrases, and uon to illustrate negative tagmeme of a summary, sentence, conversational, response, or interrogative.[4] Interrogatives in Daga are illustrated by the elongation of the final syllable along with an initial word to start the clause:

dime why
dim what
ansena which
anena how
andi when
amba where
animpo how many
da who


Numeral roots in Daga are created using an odd system. Daga only has the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 and use the convention of using body-parts to represent numbers. For example, the word nani ('hand') means five and the word apen ('man') means 20 counting all the fingers and toes attached to that entity. These words along with the word yamu ('other') creates the phrases that illustrate numbers.[4]

Numbers and Numerical phrases
Number Daga English
1 da one
2 de two
3 yampo three
4 degede four
10 aonugaet ten
iravi all
aruga many
da de few (one or two)


  1. ^ Daga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Daga". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Daga". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Murane, Elizabeth (1974). Daga Grammar. University of Oklahoma: Benjamin F, Ulson. pp. 1–20.
  5. ^ "Milne Bay Province" (PDF). http://pcabii.org/resources/provinces/Milne%20Bay%20Province.pdf. External link in |website= (help)
  6. ^ "Papua New Guinea Culture: An Introduction to Ancient Traditions". Zegrahm Expeditions. Retrieved 2018-11-16.