East Geelvink Bay languages

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East Geelvink Bay
East Cenderawasih
Papua Province, Indonesia
Linguistic classification: unclear distant relationship to other Papuan languages
Glottolog: geel1240[1]

The East Geelvink Bay or East Cenderawasih languages are a language family of a dozen Papuan languages along the eastern coast of Geelvink Bay in Indonesian Papua, which is also known as Sarera Bay or Cenderawasih.

The East Geelvink Bay languages are:

Turunggare, Barapasi, BauziDemisa, Nisa-Anasi (Bapu), Burate, Kofei, Sauri, Tefaro, Woria

Of these, only Turunggare, Barapasi, and Bauzi are known well enough to demonstrate a relationship, though they are all lexically similar (> 60%). The unclassified Kehu language, spoken between Turunggare and Burate, may turn out to be East Geelvink Bay as well.[1]


A relationship between Yawa, spoken on Yapen Island, and the East Geelvink Bay languages was tentatively proposed by C. L. Voorhoeve in 1975 in a proposal he called Geelvink Bay. The hypothesis was taken up by Stephen Wurm, who developed it as part of an initial attempt to classify the Papuan languages; however, the relationship would be a distant one, and later linguists such as Mark Donohue considered Yawa to be a language isolate.

Clouse 1997 removed the Lakes Plain languages of the upper Mamberamo River in the interior of Papua from Trans–New Guinea, where Würm had placed them, and added them to the Geelvink Bay languages. However, in his 2005 classification based on comparative evidence from pronouns, Malcolm Ross treats all three groups as separate families, with Yawa tentatively placed in an extended West Papuan family.


The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto–East Geelvink Bay are,

I *e we *i
thou *o you *u
s/he *a they  ?

See also


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Geelvink Bay". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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>