Golin language

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RegionGumine District, Simbu Province
Native speakers
(51,000 cited 1981)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3gvf
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Golin (also Gollum, Gumine) is a Papuan language of Papua New Guinea.



Front Back
High ɪ ɪː ʊ ʊː
Mid ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Low ɑ ɑː

Diphthongs that occur are /ɑi ɑu ɔi ui/. The consonants /l n/ can also be syllabic.


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
plain lab. plain Late. plain lab.
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless


Fricative s~ʃ ɬ~
Approximant j w
Trill r

/bʷ ɡʷ/ are treated as single consonants by Bunn & Bunn (1970)[3], but as combinations of /b/ + /w/, /ɡ/ + /w/ by Evans et al. (2005)[4].

Two consonants appear to allow free variation in their realisations: [s] varies with [ʃ], and [l] with [ɬ].

/n/ assimilates to [ŋ] before /k/ and /ɡ/.


Golin is a tonal language, distinguishing high ([˧˥]), mid ([˨˧]), and low ([˨˩]) tone. The high tone is marked by an acute accent and the low tone by a grave accent, while the mid tone is left unmarked. Examples:[4]

  • High: mú [mu˧˥] 'type of snake'; wí [wi˧˥] 'scream (man)'
  • Mid: mu [mu˨˧] 'type of bamboo'; wi [wi˨˧] 'coming from the same ethnic group'
  • Low: mù [mu˨˩] 'sound of river'; wì [wi˨˩] 'cut (verb)'


Golin is notable for having a small pronominal paradigm. There are two basic pronouns:[5]

  • first person
  • í second person

There is no number distinction and no true third person pronoun. In fact, third person pronouns in Golin are in fact compounds derived from ‘man’ plus inín ‘self’:

  • yalíni ‘he’ < yál ‘man’ + inín ‘self’
  • abalíni ‘she’ < abál ‘woman’ + inín ‘self’


  1. ^ Golin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Golin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ *Bunn, Gordon; Bunn, Ruth (1970). "Golin phonology". Pacific Linguistics A. 23: 1–7.
  4. ^ a b Evans, Nicholas; Besold, Jutta; Stoakes, Hywel; Lee, Alan (2005). Materials on Golin: Grammar, texts and dictionary. Parkville: The Dept. Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, The University of Melbourne.
  5. ^ Foley, William A. (2018). "The morphosyntactic typology of Papuan languages". 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. 895–938. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • Bunn, Gordon (1974). "Golin grammar". Working Papers in New Guinea Linguistics. 5.