Left May languages

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Left May
New Guinea
Linguistic classification Left May – Kwomtari ?
Glottolog left1242[1]

The Left May or Arai languages are a small language family of half a dozen closely related but not mutually intelligible languages in the centre of New Guinea, along the left bank of the May River. There are only about 2,000 speakers in all.

The languages are:

Iteri (Rocky Peak), Nakwi, Ama, Nimo, Owiniga, and (possibly) Bo.

Left May neighbors the Amto–Musan languages, but does not appear to be related to them (Laycock 1973; 1975).

Malcolm Ross (2005) linked the Left May languages to Laycock's Kwomtari–Baibai languages in a Left May – Kwomtari family, based on similarities in the pronouns of Rocky Peak. However, he had not corrected for Laycock's errors in classification, and it is not clear if the links are with the Kwomtari or Fas languages.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Left May". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  • Laycock, Donald C. (1973). Sepik languages: checklist and preliminary classification. Canberra: Dept. of Linguistcs, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-85883-084-4. OCLC 5027628. 
  • Laycock, Donald C. (1975). "Sko, Kwomtari, and Left May (Arai) phyla". In Stephen A. Wurm. Papuan languages and the New Guinea linguistic scene: New Guinea area languages and language study 1. Canberra: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. pp. 849–858. OCLC 37096514. 
  • 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.