Isirawa is a Papuan language spoken by about two thousand people on the north coast of Papua province, Indonesia. It's a local trade language, and use is vigorous. Stephen Wurm (1975) linked it to the Kwerba languages within the Trans–New Guinea family, and it does share about 20% of its vocabulary with neighboring Kwerba languages. However, based on its pronouns, Malcolm Ross (2005) felt he could not substantiate such a link, and left it as a language isolate. The pronouns are not, however, dissimilar from those of Orya–Tor, which Ross links to Kwerba, and Donahue (2002) accept it as a Greater Kwerba language.
In Isirawa, the feminine gender is associated with big objects, and masculine with small objects; the opposite association is found in Tayap and the Sepik languages, which classify large objects as masculine rather than feminine.
The Isirawa pronouns are,
I a-, e we nen-, ne you o-, mə all third person e-, maə, ce, pe
Ross's reconstructed Orya–Tor pronouns are *ai 'I', *ne 'we' (inclusive), *emei 'thou', *em 'you'.
Isirawa pronoun paradigm as given in Foley (2018):
pronoun nominative accusative possessive 1s e afo wə 2s mɪ ofo of 3s efo ef 1d ne nenfo nenef 2d mɪ ofnafo ofnaf 3d efnafo efnaf 1p ne nenfɪvo nenfɪ(v) 2p mɪ ofɪvo ofɪ(v) 3p efɪvo efɪ(v)
- Isirawa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Isirawa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "Indonesia languages". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (22nd ed.). Dallas: SIL International.
- 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.
- Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". 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. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Clouse, Duane, Mark Donohue and Felix Ma. 2002. "Survey report of the north coast of Irian Jaya."
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