Neha Patil

Suki language

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Native to  Papua New Guinea
Native speakers  3,500 (2003)
Glottolog  suki1245
Region  Western Province
ISO 639-3  sui
Language family  Trans–New Guinea Gogodala–Suki Suki

Suki is a Gogodala-Suki language spoken by about 3500 people several miles inland along the Fly River in southwestern Papua New Guinea. Suki is primarily spoken in six villages of the Western Province: Gwaku, Iwewi, Ewe, Gwibaku, Duru, and Isala. Suki is genetically related to the three other languages of the Gogodala–Suki stock, Gogodala, Ari, and Waruna, but is considered a family-level isolate within this group. As with many Papuan languages, there are very few published materials on Suki. The literacy rate in Suki is 5-15%, English is the language of instruction in schools and Hiri Motu is also spoken.


Alternate Names

Suki is also known as Wiram and was earlier known as Nausaku, after one of the villages where Suki was spoken. The village no longer exists, but was located near present-day Isala.


The phonology of Suki is relatively simple. It has a five-vowel system, much like many of the non-Austronesian languages of Papua New Guinea. The consonant system is also fairly simple, containing 13 phonemes. The tables below list the phonemes and their allophones; allophones are given in parentheses.


Suki is written using the Latin script without diacritics. It follows English conventions of capitalizing proper names and the first words of sentences. Punctuation is mostly as in English, though question marks and exclamation points are not used. The following letters are used to write Suki: a b d e g i k m n o p r s t u w y z. The letters w and y are used both as consonants and vowels.


Suki is an agglutinating language primarily via suffixing, though a small number of prefixes have been attested. Both nouns and verbs can take a large number of suffixes. The verbal structure is as follows, where items in parentheses are optional: verb root + (causative suffix) + (person-object suffix) + (transitive suffix) + tense suffix + person-number suffix. The person suffixes are as follows:


The pronoun system of Suki is somewhat unusual in the world, though quite typical for a language of New Guinea, in that the pronouns for 2nd singular and 1st plural are homophonous. Just like the nouns, the pronouns can also take most case affixes.


There are four numerals native to Suki, though only two morphemes to express these and perhaps only one of them is original to the language. Voorhoeve states that Suki seems to have borrowed menes (two) from the neighboring Zimakani people. Numerals can also take a limited number of case affixes.

In writing, numerals one through four are spelled out, while numerals above four are written with Arabic numerals.


Suki is a subject–object–verb (SOV) language.


Suki language Wikipedia

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