Kalam languages

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New Guinea
Linguistic classification Trans–New Guinea
Glottolog kala1404[1]

The Kalam languages are a small family of languages in the Madang branch of the Trans–New Guinea languages of New Guinea.

The languages are:

KalamTai, Kobon.

They are famous for having perhaps the smallest numbers of lexical verbs of any languages in the world, with somewhere in the range of 100 to 120 verbs in the case of Kobon.

Ross classifies the Rai Coast languages as the closest relatives of Kalam, and suggests that Kalam may be part of that family.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kalam–Kobon". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson. Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.