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The Pahoturi languages are a small family of Papuan languages. This family includes six language varieties including Agöb (Dabu), Em, Ende, Kawam, Idi, and Taeme, which are spoken south of the Fly River, just west of the Eastern Trans-Fly languages. Ross (2005) tentatively includes them in the proposed Trans-Fly – Bulaka River family.

Pahoturi River
New Guinea
Linguistic classificationTrans-Fly or independent language family
  • Pahoturi
Map of Pahoturi River languages.jpg
Map: The Pahoturi languages of New Guinea

Some Pahoturi River speakers were originally hunter-gatherers, but had recently shifted to becoming gardeners.[2]:649


Wurm (1975) and Ross (2005) suggest that the Pahoturi languages may be related to the Tabo (Waia) language just north of the Fly delta. However, they present no evidence, and the pronouns do not match.[3]

Evans (2018) classifies the Pahoturi River languages as an independent language family.[2]


The six varieties have traditionally been grouped[by whom?] into the following two language groups:

  1. Agöb (Dabu), Em, Ende, and Kawam
  2. Idi and Taeme

Preliminary work on the language family suggests that these varieties form a dialect chain.

Pahoturi River languages and respective demographic information listed by Evans (2018) are provided below.[2]

List of Pahoturi River languages
Language Location Population Alternate names
Idi central-east Morehead Rural LLG 774
Taeme northeast Morehead Rural LLG 834 Tame
Agob southeast Morehead Rural LLG 1,437 Bugi, Dabu
Ende east Morehead Rural LLG 542
Kawam east Morehead Rural LLG and west Oriomo-Bituri Rural LLG 457


The pronouns Ross reconstructs for the family are:


I *ŋa-na we ?
thou *ba or *be you *-bi
s/he *bo they ?

Lindsey lists the following pronouns for each of the language varieties in the family.[4]

Pahoturi River Pronouns
Case English Agob Em Ende Kawam Idi Taeme
Nominative I (1sg) ŋəna ŋəna ŋəna ŋəna ŋən ŋən
thou (2sg) boŋo boŋo boŋo buŋo
s/he (3sg) bo bogo bogo bo bo bo
we exclusive


ŋumi ŋumi ŋəmi ŋəmi ŋəmi/bi bi
we inclusive


ibi ibi ibi ibi jɪbi jəbi
you (2nsg) bibi bibi bibi bibi
they (3nsg) ubi ubi ubi ubi bo/wɪbi bo/ubi
Accusative I (1sg) ŋənam ŋənam ŋənəm ŋonom bom ŋənəm
thou (2sg) bæm bæm bam bæm babom babom
s/he (3sg) obom obom obom obom obom obom
we exclusive


ŋənam ŋumim ŋəmim ŋəmim bim ŋəmim
we inclusive


ibom ibam ibim ibim jəbim jɪbim
you (2nsg) bæm bæm bibim bibim bibim bibim
they (3nsg) obam obæm ubim ubim ubim/wəbim ubim
Dative I (1sg) ŋɵmɽe ŋəmɽe ŋəmɽe ŋəmre blæ ŋəmʎæ
thou (2sg) bæɽe babɽe babɽe bæbre bæblæ bæbʎe
s/he (3sg) obɽe obɽe obɽe obo oblæ obʎe
we exclusive


ŋɵmra ŋumra ŋəmira ŋəmira bli ŋəmʎi
we inclusive


ibra ibra ibra ibra jəbli jɪbʎi
you (2nsg) bæra babra bibra bibra bibli bibʎi
they (3nsg) obra obra ubira ubira ubli ubʎi
Possessive I (1sg) ŋɵmo ŋəmo ŋəmo ŋomo bo/bænæ ŋəmo
thou (2sg) bəne bəne bəne bəne bənæ bənæ
s/he (3sg) obo obo obo obo obo/obænæ obo
we exclusive


ŋəma ŋəma ŋəma ŋəma ba ŋəma
we inclusive


iba iba iba iba jəba jəba
you (2nsg) bina bina bina bina bəna bəna
they (3nsg) oba oba oba oba oba wəba


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pahoturi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c Evans, Nicholas (2018). "The languages of Southern 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. 641–774. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald. "Tabo". Glottolog. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  4. ^ Lindsey, Kate L. (April 16, 2018). "Language Corpus of Ende and other Pahoturi River Languages". PARADISEC. doi:10.26278/5c1a5cfcaacde. LSNG08. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  • 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.