Siar-Lak language

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ep warwar anun dat
Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionNew Ireland Province
Native speakers
2,100 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sjr

Siar, also known as Lak, Lamassa, or Likkilikki, is an Austronesian language spoken in New Ireland Province in the southern island point of Papua New Guinea. Lak is in the Patpatar-Tolai sub-group, which then falls under the New Ireland-Tolai group in the Western Oceanic language, a sub-group within the Austronesian family.[2] The Siar people keep themselves sustained and nourished by fishing and gardening.[3] The native people call their language ep warwar anun dat, which means "our language".[4]


Siar-Lak contains fifteen consonants, and five vowels, which does not include the mid-high vowel pronunciations of /é/ and /ó/.

Consonant Phonemes
Bilabial Dental-Alveolar Palatal Velar
Voiceless Plosive p t k
Voiced Plosive b d g
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative ɸ s
Lateral l
Trill r
Approximant w y


Vowel Phonemes
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

The vowel /ẹ/ can be thought to be pronounced in between the high vowel /I/ and the mid vowel /E/, as well as /ọ/ being in between the high vowel /U/ and the mid vowel /O/, according to the native people in Papua New Guinea.[3] "ẹ" can be written as "é", and "ọ" can also be written as "ỏ". Knowing which vowel is used when writing is critical, as two words that are similar can have completely different meanings. For example, "rowoi" means to "carry in arms", while "rówói" means "to fly". Also, "toh" has a meaning of "to be able", while "tóh" means "sugarcane". [3]

Stress and Phonotactics[edit]

Stress is placed on the last syllable in each word. Examples of words broken down into syllables and translated include:

Siar-Lak English "sneeze"
ar.ngas "mountain peak"
far.bón "praise"
fet.rar "young woman"

Syllable Structures[edit]

Siar Lak contains four different types of syllable patterns in their word vocabulary, which include V(vowel), VC(vowel consonant), CV(consonant vowel), and CVC(consonant vowel consonant). Some examples include:

Siar Lak English
V u "you" "to plant"
a.i.nói "to fill"
VC ep "article"
ar.ngas "mountain"
la.un "to live"
CV ma "now"
kó.bót "morning"
ka.bu.suk "my nose"
la.tu "tomorrow"
CVC póp "puddle"
gósgós "to dance" "great"
ka.kau "to crawl"


Numerical System[edit]

Numbers 1-10
Siar English
i tik One
i ru Two
i tól Three
i at Four
i lim Five
i won Six
i is Seven
i wol Eight
i siwok Nine
sanguli or i tik ep bónót Ten


Numbers 10-100
Siar English
i tik ep bónót Ten
i ru ru bónót Twenty
i tól ep bónót Thirty
i at ep bónót Forty
i lim ep bónót Fifty
i won ep bónót Sixty
i is ep bónót Seventy
i wol ep bónót Eighty
i siwok ep bónót Ninety
i tik ep mar One Hundred


Orthography is the way words are written, using the appropriate letters from a specific language while following usage rules. If the consonant phoneme /φ/ is used at the beginning of a word, that word starts with an "f", but if it is found at the end of a word, it is then replaced with the letter "h". An example of this is "ep φun", which makes the phrase "ep fun", meaning "banana (plant)", but when it is found at the end of a word, as in "ep yaφ", it becomes "ep yah", meaning "fire".[3]


Independent Pronouns
Singular Dual Trial/Paucal Plural
First (exclusive) ya(u)/ a mara(u) mató~matól mét
First (inclusive) dara(u) datól dat
Second u aura(u) amtól amat
Third Personal i dira(u) diat dit
Impersonal di
Inanimate, mass in


Example sentence:

Yau, a rak al an ka-sai an Kokopo.

1s 1s want 1s.POT at DIR-west at Kokopo

"As for me, I want to go to Kokopo."[3]

Verb Phrases[edit]

Two types of verb phrases included Intransitive and Transitive verbs. An intransitive verb is used when there is no direct object, while a transitive verb is used when there is a direct object action taking place. An intransitive verb of eat, would be "angan", while a transitive verb for eat would be "yan".


  1. ^ Siar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Lean 1991
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rowe 2005
  4. ^ "Siar language and alphabet".
  • Rowe, Karen (2005). Siar-Lak Grammar Essentials. Data Papers on Papua New Guinea Languages 50. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  • Lean, G. A. (1991). Counting systems of Papua New Guinea: Volume 1: New Ireland Province (2nd ed., Vol. 1). Lae, Papua New Guinea: Department of Mathematics and Statistics Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
  • Frowein, Friedel Martin (2011). A grammar of Siar, an Oceanic language of New Ireland province, Papua New Guinea (Ph.D. thesis). La Trobe University. hdl:1959.9/529829.