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Documentation and analysis of Yawuno Teneyo linguistic practices

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Language Yawuno Teneyo
Depositor Joseph Brooks
Affiliation University of Virginia
Location Papua New Guinea
Deposit ID 0595
Grant ID IPF0279
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Forthcoming
Landing Page Handle



Summary of the deposit

This deposit constitutes an openly accessible audiovisual collection of Yawuno Teneyo linguistic practices and ways of speaking. The documentation focuses on natural language use in interactive settings, including where there may be code-switching with Tok Pisin or other local vernaculars. The collection includes an audiovisual corpus including time-aligned annotations, notebook scans, intellectual outcomes of the project including articles, presentations, and a sketch grammar, among other components.


Group represented

This project is based in Iteri village and includes individuals from some of the other Yawuno villages (Akroumei, Mosketo, Iwau, and Falu). According to Yawuno people and to initial observations, the linguistic situation is distinct in each village. The language is most vibrant in Falu, a village deep in the mountains where there remain speakers who lack knowledge of Tok Pisin. Shift to Tok Pisin is most advanced in Iwau, due to the proximity of that village to the Sepik River. Mosketo villagers speak a Yawuno-Bo hybrid. In Iteri, people are conversant in Bo and in Akroumei people are conversant in Sawiyanou. Currently, the use of the language is threatened due to the rapid encroachment of a logging road through Akroumei and Iteri, something which has already brought radical changes to this part of the world.


Language information

Yawuno Teneyo is spoken by an estimated 500 people living in 5 villages in the West Range mountains in western Papua New Guinea. Its speakers refer to themselves as Yawuno ‘uphill people’ and lack an autonymic form for the language. The closest approximation which its speakers find uncontroversial is Yawuno Teneyo ‘uphill people’s talk’. It is claimed to belong to Left May, a small family of 6 languages. Although little is yet known about Yawuno Teneyo grammar, preliminary research reveals a phoneme inventory of 13 consonants and 7 vowels, lexical pitch accent, little nominal morphology but very synthetic verb morphology. The minimal phonological word is V, as demonstrated by the following words: a ‘tree’ e ‘tooth’ í ‘string bag’ o ‘ear’ u ‘water’.


Special characteristics

This deposit is currently a work in progress.


Deposit contents

This deposit is currently a work in progress and thus far includes only a few materials from a pilot trip to the community in Iteri.


Acknowledgement and citation

Anyone wishing to use or cite the contents of this collection for research purposes or otherwise is requested to ask the principle investigator prior to doing so. I am best reached at brooks.josephd AT gmail

Uses of the collection should acknowledge Joseph Brooks as the principle investigator and researcher and should acknowledge ELDP as the funder.

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

Brooks, Joseph. 2021. Documentation and analysis of Yawuno Teneyo linguistic practices. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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