North Papuan languages

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North Papuan
North New Guinea
northern New Guinea

The North Papuan languages are a proposed language family of Papuan languages

Many of the constituent branches of North Papuan were first proposed to be related by HKL Cowan in the 1950s. Voorhoeve (1971) connected the Border and Tor families. The proposal was expanded by Joseph Greenberg to the Sepik, Ramu and Torricelli languages, but this larger version has been rejected by specialists. Using only pronouns as a diagnostic, Malcom Ross linked most of the western branch of the family. The current form of the family was worked out by Timothy Usher under the name 'North New Guinea',[1] not to be confused with the proposed North New Guinea branch of the Austronesian language family.


The western branch is equivalent to Ross's Tor–Kwerba family with the addition of Nimboran.

Søren Wichmann (2013)[2] considers Nimboran, Kapauri, Border, and possibly also Elseng to form a unified language family.


  1. ^ NewGuineaWord North New Guinea
  2. ^ Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages. In: Hammarström, Harald and Wilco van den Heuvel (eds.), History, contact and classification of Papuan languages (Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012), 313-386. Port Moresby: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea.