Huli language

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RegionSouthern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
EthnicityHuli people
Native speakers
150,000 (2011)[1]
  • South
    • Huli
Latin script (Huli alphabet)
Huli Braille
Language codes
ISO 639-3hui

Huli is an Tari language spoken by the Huli people of the Ela Province of Papua New Guinea. It features a pentadecimal (base-15) numeral system: ngui means 15, ngui ki means 15×2 = 30, and ngui ngui means 15×15 = 225.

Huli has a pandanus language called tayenda tu ha illili (bush divide taboo) used for collecting karuka nuts (anga) as well as hunting or traveling.[3] Tayenda is used to evade malevolent bush spirits.[3] The grammar for Tayenda is nearly identical to normal Huli, but the vocabulary is changed, often borrowing words from Duna but with changed meanings.[3]



Front Back
Close i ĩ u ũ
Mid e ẽ o õ
Open ɑ ɑ̃

Vowel nasality is phonemic in the language.


Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d g
Fricative ʝ h
Nasal m n ŋ
Approximant w ɭ
Trill r



  1. ^ Huli at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Huli". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c Goldman, Laurence (1983). "Talking about talk". Talk Never Dies: The Language of Huli Disputes. London and New York: Tavistock Publications. pp. 254–257. ISBN 978-0422782104. OCLC 993340993.
  4. ^ Organised Phonology Data: Huli Language [HUI] Southern Highlands Province (PDF). 1992.
  • Lomas, Gabe (1988). The Huli language of Papua New Guinea. PhD Thesis, Macquarie University.

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