Orya–Tor languages

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New Guinea
Linguistic classificationNorth Papuan?

The Orya–Tor languages are a family of just over a dozen Papuan languages spoken in Indonesia.


The Tor family is clearly established. Its closest relative appears to be Orya.


Stephen Wurm (1975) linked Orya and the Tor languages with the Lakes Plain languages, forming a branch of his Trans–New Guinea phylum. Clouse (1997) found no evidence of such a connection.[2] Malcolm Ross (2005) linked them instead with part of another erstwhile branch of TNG in a Tor–Kwerba proposal. Glottolog accepts only the link with Orya as having been demonstrated.[1]

A purported Wares language is sometimes reported.[3] However, no such language is attested. The Wares people are not known to have a distinct language, and the language of the village of Wares is Mawes.[4]

Foley (2018)[edit]

Foley (2018) provides the following classification.[5]


Orya / Uria / Warpok / Warpu

Sause / Seuce (?)

Berik / Upper Tor




Dineor / Maremgi


Bonerif / Benaraf / Edwas



Keijar / Keder

Kwinsu / Ansudu

Betaf / Tena

Vitou / Takar

Foley considers the inclusion of Sause within the Tor family to be questionable due to insufficient lexical evidence.[5]


The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto-Orya–Tor are,

I *ai exclusive we ?
inclusive we *ne
thou *emei you *em
s/he *je they ?

Basic vocabulary[edit]

Basic vocabulary in Tor family languages (Orya, Sause, Berik, Bonerif, Kwesten) listed by Foley (2018):[5]

Note: ü = /y/
Tor family basic vocabulary
gloss Orya Sause Berik Bonerif Kwesten
‘bird’ mawa redneng ju dun
‘blood’ kal sawis disan awes
‘bone’ dan oʔog ædna re ren
‘ear’ i imwa yere yeren
‘eat’ temb- tomb- tümba tumber
‘egg’ sik reng sui süi suy
‘eye’ nwe nwe nwetkan noen
‘fire’ siok nəenʔ tokwa tiɲe timor
‘leg, foot’ tana tof tøf təv
‘louse’ nena heng nena nena nɨnen
‘name’ bose bosna busø busen
‘one’ ahaen noʔbo daanfena damet aftken
‘see’ hla- dam- idam- isangker
‘sky’ nglɨ winis nir oir ~ kir
‘stone’ kasof dobar ton tkun toʔun
‘sun’ yakra nisik gwer kwaka kwaker
‘tooth’ æk gong or worbo our
‘tree’ te eüsü ti ti tin
‘two’ dan nembe naura nawedem nawət
‘water’ ho beher fo fo fon
‘woman’ we wi wi win


  1. ^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tor–Orya". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Clouse, Duane A. (1997). Karl Franklin (ed.). "Towards a reconstruction and reclassification of the Lakes Plains languages of Irian Jaya". Papers in New Guinea Linguistics. 2: 133–236. ISSN 0078-9135. OCLC 2729642.
  3. ^ Wares at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  4. ^ Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
  5. ^ a b c Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". 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. 433–568. 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.