Sepik-Ramu languages

The Sepik-Ramu languages are a hypothetical language family linking the Sepik, Ramu, Nor-Pondo (Lower Sepik), Leonhard Schultze (Walio-Papi), and Yuat families, together with the Taiap language isolate, and proposed by Donald Laycock in 1973.

All told, Sepik-Ramu consists of a hundred languages of the Sepik and Ramu river basins of northern Papua New Guinea, spoken by only 200 000 people in all. The languages tend to have simple phonologies, with few consonants or vowels and usually no tones.

The best known Sepik-Ramu language is Iatmül. The most populous are Iatmül's fellow Ndu languages Abelam and Boiken, with about 35 000 speakers apiece.

Malcolm Ross re-evaluated the Sepik-Ramu hypothesis in 2005 and found no evidence that it forms a valid family. However, all of the constituent branches, except for Yuat within Ramu, hold together in his evaluation. Ross links Nor-Pondo to Ramu in a Ramu-Lower Sepik proposal, places Leonhard Schultze (tentatively broken up into Walio and Papi) within an extented Sepik family, and treats Yuat and Taiap and independent families.


This list is a mirror of the Ethnologue article here

Sepik-Ramu phylum (based on Laycock 1973)

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