Kuman language (New Guinea)

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Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionChimbu Province, from Kundiawa to beyond Kerowagi in the west and Gembogl in the north, at the foot of Mount Wilhelm
Native speakers
120,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kue

Kuman (also Chimbu or Simbu) is a language of Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea. In 1994, it was estimated that 80,000 people spoke Kuman, 10,000 of them monolinguals;[3] in the 2000 census, 115,000 were reported, with few monolinguals.[1]

Like other Chimbu languages, Kuman has rather unusual lateral consonants. Besides the typical /l/, it has a "laterally released velar affricate" which is voiced medially and voiceless finally (and does not occur initially).[4] Based on related languages, this is presumably /k͡ʟ̝̊/, allophonically [ɡ͡ʟ̝] (see voiceless velar lateral fricative).


Kuman is an SOV language.


  1. ^ a b Kuman at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kuman". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Kuman language (New Guinea) at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  4. ^ Foley, 1986:63, The Papuan languages of New Guinea

Further reading[edit]

  • Hardie, Peter. 2003. Is Kuman Tonal? An account of basic segmental and tonological structure in the Papuan language Kuman. MA thesis: Australian National University
  • Dryer, Matthew S.; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kuman". World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

External links[edit]