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Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar


Language Moor (Mor) (ISO639-3:mhz), Yerisiam (ISO639-3:ire), Yaur (ISO639-3:jau), Umar (ISO639-3:gop)
Depositor David Kamholz
Affiliation The Long Now Foundation
Location Indonesia
Collection ID 0223
Grant ID IGS0102
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection documents four Austronesian languages of southern Cenderawasih Bay (Papua province, Indonesia): Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar. It was collected by David Kamholz, linguist and principal investigator, as part of his doctoral research into the history of the South Halmahera-West New Guinea (SHWNG) subgroup of Austronesian. The historical-comparative nature of this research led to particular emphasis on the lexicon, morphological paradigms, and capturing tonal contrasts. The recordings also include a significant quantity of storytelling, naturalistic conversation, other texts, and music.


Group represented

The Moor speakers represented in this collection are largely from the village of Mambor. The Yerisiam speakers are largely from the villages of Sima and Erega. The Yaur speakers are largely from the villages of Yaur, Napanyaur, and Sima. The Umar speakers are largely from the village of Goni.


Language information

Moor (ISO 639-3 mhz) is a West New Guinea (EMP) language spoken in seven villages in southeast Cenderawasih Bay (Papua, Indonesia) with about 1500 speakers:

  • Three villages are in the Moor Islands: Kamurei-Matini (Kama) and Ayombai on Moor, Arui on Ratewo
  • Two villages are in the Haarlem Islands: one on Mambor, one on Hariti
  • Two are on the mainland not far from Napan: Masipawa and Mosan


Geographically, its closest languages are: Yaur, Roon, Wandamen, Waropen; Tarunggare (Papuan, Geelvink Bay phylum). Previous research on Moor is limited: the best published source is Laycock (1978), based on work conducted in Australia in 1965–6 with a single speaker from Kamurei-Matini.


Special characteristics

Like some related languages in the Raja Ampat islands, Moor, Yerisiam, and Yaur have lexical tone contrasts.


Collection contents

The majority of bundles in this collection are audio and video recordings, covering:

  • 7.5 hours of storytelling
  • 5 hours of conversation
  • 53 minutes of video recording of group activities
  • 3.5 hours of music and singing
  • 34 minutes of Pear Story narratives
  • 14.5 minutes of Frog Story narratives
  • 15.5 hours of basic word list elicitation
  • 2 hours of phonological elicitation
  • 14.5 hours of grammatical elicitation

There is also a 3.5-hour recording of a Yerisiam speaker pronouncing and explaining a dictionary that he created.

In the collection, 13 hours of Moor recordings are transcribed; 3.5 hours of Yerisiam recordings are transcribed; 73 minutes of Yaur recordings are transcribed; and 2 minutes of Umar recordings are transcribed. Most transcriptions are translated into Indonesian; some are translated into English. Transcriptions were done with ELAN.


Collection history

The data for this collection was collected during the doctoral research of David Kamholz, the principal investigator. Field trips were undertaken in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. The 2008-2010 trips focused on documentation of Moor in the village of Mambor. During the 2010 trip, David and Harald Hammarström conducted a survey of southwest Cenderawasih Bay, including visits to the villages of Sima (language: Yerisiam), Yaur (language: Yaur), and Goni (language: Umar). The 2011 and 2013 trips focused on the documentation of these three languages, working with speakers in the city of Nabire.

The 2010-2013 trips included visits to the Center for Endangered Language Documentation (CELD) in Manokwari. In 2010, Zakeus Manuaron went to CELD and transcribed Moor recordings with the assistance of Jinny Makabori. In 2011, Yonatan Yoweni went to CELD and transcribed Yerisiam and Yaur recordings with the assistance of Ruth Rumbiak. In 2013, Herman Marariampi went to CELD and transcribed Yerisiam recordings with the assistance of Yuli Rumwaropen.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge David Kamholz as the principal investigator and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by name.

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Kamholz, David. 2018. Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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