Tama languages

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Sepik River basin, Papua New Guinea: just to the south of Nuku town in eastern Sandaun Province
Linguistic classificationSepik
  • Middle Sepik
    • Tama

The Tama languages are a small family of three clusters of closely related languages of northern Papua New Guinea, spoken just to the south of Nuku town in eastern Sandaun Province. They are classified as subgroup of the Sepik languages. Tama is the word for 'man' in the languages that make up this group.


The Tama languages are,

Yessan-Mayo and Mehek are the best documented Tama languages.[2]


Foley (2018) provides the following classification.[2]



The Tama languages distinguish /r/ and /l/, unlike many other Papuan languages that have only one liquid consonant.[2]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sepik Tama". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 197–432. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.