Maisin language

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RegionOro Province, Papua New Guinea
EthnicityMaisin people
Native speakers
2,600 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mbq
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Maisin (or Maisan) is a language of Papua New Guinea with both Austronesian and Papuan features. The Austronesian elements are those of the Nuclear Papuan Tip languages. The Papuan element is Binanderean or Dagan. It is spoken by the Maisin people of Oro Province.




Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a


Ending with /i/ Ending with /e/ Ending with /a/ Ending with /o/ Ending with /u/
Starting with /i/ /ii/ /ia/
Starting with /e/ /ei/ /ee/ /eu/
Starting with /a/ /ai/ /aa/ /au/
Starting with /o/ /oi/ /oo/ /ou/
Starting with /u/ /ua/ /uu/


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
Stop Voiceless p t k (kʷ)
Voiced b d ɡ
Nasal m n (ŋ)
Fricative Voiceless ɸ ɸʷ s
Voiced β ʝ
Flap ɾ
Approximant j w

[ŋ] and [kʷ] are not phonemic, but are distinguished in the orthography.


Syllables can begin and end with up to one consonant each. I.e., English wrong /rɔŋ/ would be an acceptable word, but strength /streŋθ/ would not. Words can only end in either a vowel or [ŋ]. The vowels /u/ and /o/ never occur word-initially. /β/ never occurs before /o/ or /u/.

Writing system[edit]

A a B b D d E e F f Fw fw G g I i J j K k M m
/a/ /b/ /d/ /e/ /ɸ/ /ɸʷ/ /ɡ/ /i/ /ʝ/ /k/ /m/
N n O o R r S s T t U u V v W w Y y Kw kw Ŋ ŋ
[n] /o/ /ɾ/ /s/ /t/ /u/ /β/ /w/ /j/ [kʷ] [ŋ]

Literacy varies from 20% to 80% in different areas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maisin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Maisin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

External links[edit]