Isirawa is a Papuan language spoken by about two thousand people on the north coast of Papua province, Indonesia. It's a local trade language, and use is vigorous. Stephen Wurm (1975) linked it to the Kwerba languages within the Trans–New Guinea family, and it does share about 20% of its vocabulary with neighboring Kwerba languages. However, based on its pronouns, Malcolm Ross (2005) felt he could not substantiate such a link, and left it as a language isolate. The pronouns are not, however, dissimilar from those of Orya–Tor, which Ross links to Kwerba, and Donahue (2002) accept it as a Greater Kwerba language.
In Isirawa, the feminine gender is associated with big objects, and masculine with small objects; the opposite association is found in Taiap and the Sepik languages, which classify large objects as masculine rather than feminine.
The Isirawa pronouns are,
I a-, e we nen-, ne you o-, mə all third person e-, maə, ce, pe
Ross's reconstructed Orya–Tor pronouns are *ai 'I', *ne 'we' (inclusive), *emei 'thou', *em 'you'.
- Isirawa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Isirawa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". 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. 197–432. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Clouse, Duane, Mark Donohue and Felix Ma. 2002. "Survey report of the north coast of Irian Jaya."
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