Somahai language

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Native toIndonesia
RegionPapua province: western Asmat Regency and Yahukimo Regency
Native speakers
2,200 (1998–2000)[1]
  • Momuna
  • Momina
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mqf – Momuna
mmb – Momina

Momuna (Momina), also known as Somahai (Somage, Sumohai), is a Papuan language spoken in the highlands of Papua province, Indonesia.


Reimer notes two dialects, one on the Balim River and one on the Rekai. One of the differences is that when /u/ follows an /u/ or /o/ in the Balim dialect, it is /i/ in the Rekai dialect. Thus the ethnonym 'Momuna' is pronounced 'Momina' in Rekai dialect.[4]


The Somahai pronouns, singular *na, *ka, *mo, are typical of Trans–New Guinea languages. They were placed in the Central and South New Guinea branch of that family by Wurm. Ross could not locate enough evidence to classify them. Usher found them to be closest to the Mek languages, in the Central West New Guinea, which partially overlaps with Wurm's C&SNG.


The following basic vocabulary words of Momuna are from the Trans-New Guinea database:[5]

gloss Momuna
head toko
hair toko-ate
eye otu
tooth ija
leg i jo-ku
louse amega
dog kwoka
pig uwo
egg magisaga
blood janɨ
bone toko
skin ke
tree kwo
man mogo-mearu
sun ɨkɨ
water iŋga
fire kukwa
eat nowa-


  1. ^ Momuna at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Momina at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Momuna–Mek, New Guinea World
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Somahai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Momuna, New Guinea World
  5. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). " - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  • Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.

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