Kuot language

Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionNew Ireland (10 villages)
Native speakers
1,500 (2002)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kto
Approximate location where Kuot is spoken
Approximate location where Kuot is spoken
Coordinates: 3°07′22″S 151°29′08″E / 3.122883°S 151.485644°E / -3.122883; 151.485644 (Panaras)Coordinates: 3°07′22″S 151°29′08″E / 3.122883°S 151.485644°E / -3.122883; 151.485644 (Panaras)
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The Kuot language, or Panaras, is a language isolate, the only non-Austronesian language spoken on the island of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. Lindström (2002: 30) estimates that there are 1,500 fluent speakers of Kuot.[1] Perhaps due to the small speaker base, there are no significant dialects present within Kuot.[3] It is spoken in 10 villages, including Panaras village (3°07′22″S 151°29′08″E / 3.122883°S 151.485644°E / -3.122883; 151.485644 (Panaras)) of Sentral Niu Ailan Rural LLG in New Ireland Province.


Kuot is spoken in the following 10 villages. The first five villages are located eastern coast, and the last five on the western coast in New Ireland.[1]:29 Geographical coordinates are also provided for each village.[4]

Combined, the two villages of Naliut and Nakalakalap are known as Neiruaran (3°08′38″S 151°32′50″E / 3.14398°S 151.547271°E / -3.14398; 151.547271 (Neiruaran)). Most of the villages are located in Sentral Niu Ailan Rural LLG, though some of the eastern villages, such as Kama and Bol, are located in Tikana Rural LLG.

The Kuot variety described by Lindström (2002) is that of Bimun village.

Language contact

Lenition in some Austronesian languages of New Ireland, namely Lamasong, Madak, Barok, Nalik, and Kara, may have diffused via influence from Kuot (Ross 1994: 566).[5]


Kuot is an endangered language with most if not all children growing up speaking Tok Pisin instead.[6]



Bilabial Alveolar Velar
Nasal m n~ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless ɸ~f s~ʃ
voiced β~v
Lateral l
Flap ɾ


The vowels /i/ and /u/ tend to become glide-vowels in occurrence with other vowels. The length of the vowels is not making differences for the meaning of words. The appearance of /i/ and /u/ with other vowels can not be seen as diphthong or a combination of vowel and glide-vowel. There are never more than three vowels per syllable. The combination of diphthong and vowel is also possible but they are pronounced in conditions of the syllable. Diphthongs are spoken like one sound.[6]

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


Phoneme Allophones
/i/ [i~ɪ~j]
/e/ [e~ɛ]
/a/ [a~ʌ]
/u/ [u~ʊ~w]
/o/ [o~ɔ]

Morphophonemic Alternations

't' to 'r' Alternation

The phoneme /t/ in certain possessive markers, such as "-tuaŋ", "-tuŋ" and "-tuo" becomes /r/ when it comes after a stem ending in a vowel. Compare:

  • ira-ruaŋ – my father
  • luguan-tuaŋ – my house
  • i'rama-ruo – my eye
  • nebam-tuaŋ – my feather

Vowel Shortening

Where the third person singular masculine suffix "-oŋ" is used on a noun that ends with a vowel, this vowel is typically not pronounced. For instance, "amaŋa-oŋ" is pronounced [aˈmaŋɔŋ], not [aˈmaŋaɔŋ].

Voicing Rule

When vowel-initial suffixes are added to stems that end in voiceless consonants, those consonants become voiced. For example:

  • /obareit-oŋ/ [obaˈreidoŋ] he splits it
  • /taɸ-o/ [taˈβo] he drinks
  • /marik-oŋ/ [maˈriɡoŋ] he prays

The phoneme /p/ becomes [β], not [b].

  • /sip-oŋ/ [ˈsiβɔŋ] it comes out
  • /irap-a/ [iˈraβa] her eyes


Kuot is the only Papuan language that has VSO word order, similar to Irish and Welsh.[7][8]:920 The morphology of the language is primarily agglutinative. There are two grammatical genders, male and female, and distinction is made in the first person between singular, dual, and plural, as well as between exclusive and inclusive.

For instance, the sentence parak-oŋ ira-ruaŋ kamin literally means 'my father eats sweet potato'. Parak-oŋ is a continuous aspect of the verb meaning 'to eat', ira means 'father', -ruaŋ is a suffix used to indicate inalienable possession ('my father'), and kamin is a simple noun meaning 'sweet potato'.

Noun declensions

Kuot nouns can be singular, dual, or plural. Below are some noun declension paradigms in Kuot (from Stebbins, et al. (2018), based on Lindström 2002: 147–146):[9]

Class Noun root Gloss Singular Plural Dual
1 ‘plain’ road alaŋ alaŋip alaŋip-ien
2 ma eye irəma irəp irəp-ien
3 na base (e.g. of tree) muana muap muap-ien
4 bun hen puraibun purailəp purailəp-ien
5 bu breadfruit tree opəliobu opələp opələp-ien
6 uom banana pebuom pebup pebup-ien
7 bam rib binbam binbəp binbəp-ien
8 nəm village pianəm pialap pialap-ien
9 nim name bonim bop bop-ien
10 m nit dikkam dikkəp dikkəp-ien
11 n weed kaun kaulup kaulup-ien


The following basic vocabulary words are from Lindström (2008),[10] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[11]

gloss Kuot
head bukom
hair kapuruma
ear kikinəm
eye irəma
nose akabunima; ŋof
tooth laukima
tongue məlobiem
louse ineima
dog kapuna
bird amani; kobeŋ
egg dəkər; səgər
blood oləbuan
bone muanəm
skin kumalip; neip; pəppək
breast sisima
man mikana; teima
woman makabun
sky panbinim
moon uləŋ
water burunəm; danuot
fire kit
stone adəs
road, path alaŋ
name bonim
eat o; parak
one namurit
two narain

See also


  1. ^ a b c Lindström, Eva. 2002. Topics in the Grammar of Kuot. Ph.D. dissertation, Stockholm University.
  2. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Kuot.
  3. ^ Chung, Chul-Hwa & Chung, Kyung-Ja, Kuot Grammar Essentials, 1993:p1
  4. ^ United Nations in Papua New Guinea (2018). "Papua New Guinea Village Coordinates Lookup". Humanitarian Data Exchange. 1.31.9.
  5. ^ Ross, Malcolm. 1994. Areal phonological features in north central New Ireland. In: Dutton and Tryon (eds.) Language contact and change in the Austronesian world, 551–572. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  6. ^ a b Eva Lindström (November 12, 2002). "Kuot Language and Culture". Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University. Retrieved October 14, 2016. p. 102.
  7. ^ Eva Lindström (November 12, 2002). "Kuot Language and Culture". Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  8. ^ Foley, William A. (2018). "The morphosyntactic typology of Papuan languages". 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. 895–938. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  9. ^ Stebbins, Tonya; Evans, Bethwyn; Terrill, Angela (2018). "The Papuan languages of Island Melanesia". 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. 775–894. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  10. ^ Lindström, Eva. 2008. Field Notes.
  11. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.

External links

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