Lower Sepik Languages
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Lower Sepik Languages

The Lower Sepik a.k.a. Nor-Pondo languages are a small language family of East Sepik Province in northern Papua New Guinea. They were identified as a family by K Laumann in 1951 under the name Nor-Pondo, and included in Donald Laycock's now-defunct 1973 Sepik-Ramu family.

Classification

 Lower Sepik 
 (Nor-Pondo) 
 Nor family (?) 

Murik

Kopar

 Pondo family (?) 

Chambri

Karawari (Tabriak), Yimas

Angoram

Malcolm Ross (2005) broke up the Nor branch (and thus renamed the family Lower Sepik) because Murik does not share the characteristic /p/s of the first- and second-person pronouns of Kopar and the Pondo languages, so the latter may form a group: Murik vs Kopar-Pondo. Ross classified Lower Sepik as one branch of a Ramu-Lower Sepik language family.

Foley (2005) tentatively proposes that Chambri and Angoram may be primary branches: Nor, Chambari, Karawari-Yimas, Angoram. Usher, following Foley, keeps Nor together and breaks up Pondo.[2] Neither accept the connection to Ramu.

Foley (2018)

Foley (2018) provides the following classification.[3]

Lower Sepik family

Angoram appears to be closer to Murik-Kopar, and Chambri may be related to Yimas-Karawari, but Foley (2018: 213) groups Angoram and Chambri as separate branches pending further evidence.

Phonology

Except for Yimas-Karawari, Lower Sepik languages typically have the following six-vowel system.[4]

i u
e ? o
a

Yimas-Karawari has only four vowels.[4]

i u
?
a

Proto-Lower-Sepik

Pronouns

The pronouns reconstructed for the proto-language are,

Proto-Lower Sepik (Ross)
I *ama we two *ka-i, *ka-pia we few *(p)a-?k-i-t we all *a-i, *a-pia, *i-pi
thou *n?mi you two *ka-u, *ka-pua you few *(p)a-?k-u-t you all *a-u, *a-pu, *i-pu(a)
s/he *m?n they two *m?n?mp ? (M),
*mp? ? (F)
they few *mk?-t they all *mump (M),
*pum (F)
Proto-Nor-Pondo (Foley)
I *ama we two *ka-i, *ka-pa-i we few *(pa)?k-it we all *a-i, *a-pa-i, *(y)i-i, *(y)i-pa-i
thou *mi you two *ka-u, *ka-pa-u you few *(pa)?k-ut you all *a-u, *a-pa-u, *(y)i-u, *(y)i-pa-u
s/he *m?n they two ? they few *mk? they all *mump ?

Lexicon

A phonological reconstruction of proto-Lower Sepik has been proposed by Foley (2005).[4] Foley's (2005) lexical reconstructions are provided below.


Proto-Lower Sepik reconstructions by Foley (2005)
gloss proto-Lower Sepik Yimas Karawi Chambri Angrm Murik Kopar
one *mb(w)ia- mpa- mba- mbwia- mbia- abe mbatep
two *ri-pa- -rpal ripay -ri -(l?)par kobo kombari
three *-ram -ramnaw -rianmaw -ram -el?m kero?go kerem
person *nor nar-ma? yarmas?nar noranan nor nor
male *pon panmal panmari pondo puin
woman *?ay ?ay asay kaye nu?or ?ai nana
water *ar?m ar?m ar?m ar?m al?m ar?m ar?m
fire *awr awt awi ay?r alu? awr awr
sun t?mal s?mari s?nmari mbwino ak?n ak?n
moon *m(w)il ? m?la tu?kwi mw?l m?le karewan karep
star awak su?kwi?cirim su?gwi are?jo moai kina?
canoe *kay kay kay ke ke gain kain
house nam yam kur?r nam iran indan
village *num num imu?ka num num nomot numot
breast *ngay nay ?jay nke ?ge ni?gen ni?gin
tooth *sisi?k ? t?r s?s sra?k sisi? asarap asirap
blood *ya- yat yay yari ayakone yaran yuwaran
bone *sari?amp tan?m tan?m anamp sal sari?ib? sarekimp
tongue *min m? mum? t?bulani?k m?n men mimi?
eye *tambri tu?kuru? samp?s s?si?k tambli nabrin nambrin
nose t?kay ipun wambusu nam daur imbot
leg *namu?k pamu? pamu? nama?k namu? nam
hair wapwi wampi yawi mbwikmaley dwar ruar
ear *kwand- kwantumu? kwandukas kukunam kwandum karekep kundot
egg *aw? aw? yaw? aw?k aw? gaug aw?
leaf *n?mpramp n?mpr?m yimpr?m n?mpramp namblum nabir?k n?mbira?
yesterday / tomorrow *?ar ?ar ar namas?n nak?m?n ?ar rari
oar *(m?)na? mura? m?na? na?k inap ina? na?
betelnut *poru? patn payn munt?k?n par porog puru?
lime *awi(r) awi as ay?r awer air air
pig *numpran numpran impian numpran imbar n?mbren n?mbren
crocodile manpa manpo ayi walami oramen uri
snake *wak?n wak?n wak?n wan paru? wak?n ikun
mosquito *na?gun na?kun ya?kun na?gun wawar?n nauk nang?t
ground *andi anti anti nkrump andi agin andin
feces *m?ndi m?l?m m?nti mu?jar m?ndi m?nd?n m?nd?
hear *and- and? andu and? and? d?n nda
hit *di tupul kurar d ti di n
eat *am(b) am(b) am(b) am(b) am(b) m?n ma
go *wa wa kuria kal wa on wa
come *ya ya kurapia ya ya ya ya
sit *sa tay sa nda sa nda
big *kupa k?pa kupa wupa kupa apo kapu
cold *sarV- tar?k sar?k saruk popant sarapakin

Footnotes

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lower Sepik". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ NewGuineaWorld - Lower Sepik River
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c Foley, William A. (2005). "Linguistic prehistory in the Sepik-Ramu basin". 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. 109-144. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.

Further reading

  • Proto-Lower-Sepik. TransNewGuinea.org. From (1) Foley, W.A. 1986. The Papuan languages of New Guinea, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ; (2) Foley, W.A. 1986. The Papuan languages of New Guinea, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

References

  • 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.

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