Southeast Papuan languages

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Southeast Papuan
Bird's Tail
Southeastern peninsula of New Guinea
Linguistic classification: Trans–New Guinea
  • Southeast Papuan
Glottolog: None
Map: The Southeast Papuan languages of New Guinea
  The Southeast Papuan languages
  Other Trans–New Guinea languages
  Other Papuan languages
  Austronesian languages

The Southeast Papuan or "Bird's Tail" languages are a geographic grouping of half a dozen small families of Papuan languages in the "Bird's Tail" (southeastern peninsula) of New Guinea: Koiarian, Kwalean, Manubaran, Yareban, Mailuan, and Dagan. They are all believed to be part of the Trans–New Guinea (TNG) phylum, but have not been shown to be any more closely related to each other than they are to other TNG families. However, they do all have in common ya for 'you' (plural) instead of proto-TNG *gi.

The Goilalan languages are customarily included in Southeast Papuan, but it is questionable whether they are even Trans–New Guinea.


  • 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.