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|Native to||Papua New Guinea|
|Region||Western Province, Fly River delta|
|ca. 30,000 (2011)|
Kiwai is a Papuan language, or languages, of southern Papua New Guinea. Dialects number 1,300 Kope, 700 Gibaio, 1,700 Urama, 700 Arigibi (together "Northeast Kiwai"), 3,800 Coast, 1,000 Daru, 4,500 Island, 400 Doumori (together "Southern Kiwai"). Wurm and Hattori (1981) classify Arigibi as a separate language.
Kiwai is a long/low island located on the Eastern side of the Southern entrance to the delta of the Fly River (Papua). The origin for the name Kiwai, is uncertain. The first occurrence of it, was in place names in "Dowdee" (Daudai).
Daudai was the chosen name that islanders of New Guinea, had given.
Male and Female have specific words that are indicated to them. An interesting thing, is that there are some words that indicate the gender. East Asian languages also has a gender system within their vocabulary too.
There are a variety of different ways that nouns are used in the Kiwai language. Some of the derivations of nouns are primitive. Meaning, the words are not derived from anything previous. For example, just like in English, nouns and verbs can be related. The process of reduplication, within noun or verb, is also existent. Some nouns can be combined with two other nouns.
An important word in relation to nouns, is a gerund. A gerund is created from a verbal word-base by prefixing k-.
Adjectives will always precede a noun.
Personal pronouns indicate person and number
Verbs are consisted of a "verbal word-base" in the Kiwai language. It is extended by suffixes and prefixes.
Verbal Word-Base: Verbal Word-Bases always begin and end with either a vowel, or a diphthong. It is the simplest form of a verb that is used in speech forms.
Syntax is the arrangement of words in order to create a well-structured sentence. For the Kiwai language, there are principal rules for the positioning of words.
There are six main dialects of this language.
Kiwai Dialects are different in terms of vocabulary. Grammar is also different, but not too much. However, it is still of the same linguistic group.
E. Baxter Riley, had collected words to be added in the Kiwai-English vocabulary. A lot of the texts and translations have been modified and added by S.H.R.
Verbal Forms: Verbs will be placed under the simple form of the word-base, under the five vowels (a,e,i,o,u). Compounds are followed immediately after. However some of the compounds will be located only under some prefixes. These prefixes being: ar, em, emar, emow, er, erem, im, imar, imow, ir, irim, iriw, irow, iw, iwar, or, oror, ow, owar, and owor. The word-base, will then be located by ignoring the following initial letters/syllables in words.
|proto-Trans-New Guinea||Kiwai (Island)|
|*tukumba[C] 'short'||(?) kopu|
|*sumbu 'white ashes'||tuwo|
|*mbena 'arm'||(Kerewo Kiwai bena 'shoulder')|
|*ma?gat[a] 'teeth, mouth'||mangota, magata|
|*m(i,u)ndu 'nose'||wodi (Gope (N.E. Kiwai) modi)|
|*kV(mb,p)(i,u)t(i,u) 'head'||epuru, (Wabuda kepuru)|
|*kuk(a,u)m(o,u) 'cold'||(Bamu kukamu, Sisiame kukamo)|
|*k(a,o]ndok[V] 'foot'||Gope (N.E. Kiwai) oto, Morigi kota|
|*inja 'tree, wood, fire'||(S. Kiwai era)|
|*a(mb,m)u 'tail'||(?) wapo|
|*(nd,s)umu(n,t)[V] 'hair'||(?) muso (metathesis?)|