Wiru language

Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionIalibu-Pangia District,
Southern Highlands Province
Native speakers
(15,300 cited 1967, repeated 1981)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3wiu
Wiru language.svg
Map: The Wiru language of New Guinea
 The Wiru language
 Trans–New Guinea languages
 Other Papuan languages
 Austronesian languages

Wiru or Witu is the language spoken by the Wiru people of Ialibu-Pangia District of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

There are a considerable number of resemblances with the Engan languages, suggesting Wiru might be a member of that family, but language contact has not been ruled out as the reason. Usher classifies it with the Teberan languages.


Trans–New Guinea–like pronouns are no 1sg (< *na) and ki-wi 2pl, ki-ta 2du (< *ki).


The following basic vocabulary words are from Franklin (1973,[3] 1975),[4] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database:[5]

gloss Wiru
head tobou
hair pine; píne
ear kabidi
eye lene
nose timini
tooth kime
tongue keke; keké
leg kawa
louse nomo; nomò
dog tue
pig kaì
bird ini; inì
egg mu̧
blood kamate
bone tono
skin kepene
breast adu
tree yomo; yomò
man ali
woman atoa; atòa
sun lou; loú
moon tokene
water ue; uè
fire toe
stone kue; kué
name ibini; ibíni
eat nakò; one ne nako
one odene
two takuta; ta kutà


Wiru reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:[6]

  • ibi(ni) ‘name’ < *imbi
  • nomo ‘louse’ < *niman
  • laga ‘ashes’ < *la(ŋg,k)a
  • tokene ‘moon’ < *takVn[V]
  • mane ‘instructions, incantations’ < *mana
  • keda ‘heavy’ < *ke(nd,n)a
  • mo- ‘negative prefix’ < *ma-


  1. ^ Wiru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ New Guinea World, Tua River
  3. ^ Franklin, K.J. "Other Language Groups in the Gulf District and Adjacent Areas". In Franklin, K. editor, The linguistic situation in the Gulf District and adjacent areas, Papua New Guinea. C-26:261-278. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1973. doi:10.15144/PL-C26.261
  4. ^ Franklin K.J. 1975. Comments on Proto-Engan. In S.A. Wurm, Ed. New Guinea Area Languages and Language Study: Papuan languages and the New Guinea linguistic scene. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp. 263-275.
  5. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  6. ^ Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". 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. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.

Further reading

External links

  • Timothy Usher, New Guinea World, Witu

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