Border languages (New Guinea)

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Upper Tami
New Guinea
Linguistic classification: One of the world's primary language families
Glottolog: bord1247[1]

The Border or Upper Tami[2] languages are an independent family of Papuan languages in Malcolm Ross's version of the Trans–New Guinea proposal. They are named after the Indonesia – Papua New Guinea border, which they span.


There are three unambiguous families within the Border languages, plus a possible erstwhile isolate.

Laycock classified Morwap as an isolate, but noted pronominal similarities with Border. Ross included Morwap in Border but noted that they do not appear to share any lexical similarities. However, Morwap data are quite poor.


The pronouns that Ross reconstructs for proto-Border are the following:

I *ka exclusive we *kia- ?
inclusive we *bile ?
thou *je you  ?
s/he *ihe they *ihe- ?


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Border". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Cowan (1957) tentatively proposed a "Tami" family, named after the Tami River, that included the modern Border and Sko language families. Some of the previously unclassified languages did turn out to be Sko, and were added to that family; the remainder (including the languages of the upper Tami) constitute the Border family.
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley, Robert Attenborough, Robin Hide, Jack Golson, eds (ed.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: editors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>