Wutung language

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Native to Papua New Guinea
Region Sandaun Province
Native speakers
900 (2003)[1]
  • Wutung
  • Sangke (Nyao)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wut
Glottolog wutu1244[2]
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Wutung (Udung) is a Skou language of Papua New Guinea which is spoken in the villages of Wutung and Sangke. The two varieties are sometimes considered separate languages.


The village is in Sandaun Province, on the northern coast and adjacent to the border with Indonesia. There are about 500 living in Wutung village, most of whom speak Wutung.

The nearby villages of Musu (12 km east on the coast) and Nyao Kono (about 12 km due south) have closely related languages which are named after their villages (Musu and Nyao). These three speech varieties are very closely related and are mutually intelligible.


Wutung has fifteen consonants and seven vowels, six of which have nasal variants. This gives a total of 28 phonemes. Wutung also makes suprasegmental distinctions in tone.


Labial Alveolar Palatal Glottal
voiceless p t t͡ʃ ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʒ
Nasal m n ɲ
Fricative f s h
Approximant w l


Wutung has thirteen vowels, which includes seven oral and six nasal vowels. The table below shows the oral vowels. Each of these vowels, apart from the close-mid vowel ur /ɵ/, has an equivalent nasal vowel. The nasal vowels are indicated using the same symbol as the equivalent oral, but with a following ng, e.g. ca, 'pig' vs. cang 'blossom', the latter having the nasal vowel.

Front Central Back
Close i
Mid ey
Open e


Wutung has a simple system of personal pronouns with three persons (1st, 2nd and 3rd), two numbers (singular and plural) and gender in the third person singular pronouns. The same set of pronouns are used for object and subject.

I nie we netu
thou me you etu
he qey they tetu
she cey

External links[edit]


  • Marmion, Doug (2010). Topics in the Phonology and Morphology of Wutung. Canberra: Australian National University.
  1. ^ Wutung at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wutung". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.