Facts about Abau Language

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Have you ever thought, if the language you speak today became extinct in the future? And then you were the only person left on the earth, who knows that language? I don’t think so that anyone can ever want their language to become extinct. But the case might be different with the Abau language.

Then you must know that the languages that are extinct today, also belongs to someone else in past. Every 14 days, a language becomes extinct; this is an alarming situation for all of us. We need to be concern about this. In order to raise and to save the endangered language to become extinct, we should give them importance.

So, one of the endangered languages that we will explore in this article is Abau Language.

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What’s the Origin of the Abau Language?

If we talk about the language definition of Abau Language, it belongs to the Sepik Family of Languages. It is the language of Papuan. People in Southern Sanduan, province of Papua New Guinea, speak the Abau Language. Papua New Guinea is located along the borders of Indonesia and at the edge of the Sepik River. According to the research in 2002, there were 4500 to 5000 native speakers of the Abau language. It is the language of whistled speech.

Abau people lives in the wetern Sepik River. A linguist’s group name the village as Abau. It’s is originates from the Kinship term for grandparents i.e. Abau. It was first known as Green River, as an ethnonym.  But this name is inappropriate because the river was not actually flowing through Abau-territory. Therefore it changed to Abau.

What’s the exact Location of Abau-territory?

If we talk about the location and boundaries of Abau territory, we get to know that it falls within the Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea. It extends along the south bank Sepik from the vicinity of Yellow River. The northern part of Sepik meets the international borders of the Indonesian province, Irian Jaya. Whereas the southern part of Abau includes the Green River patrol post and floodplains of the Idam and August rivers. The West Range toward the south is scantily where groups of people communicate in unrelated dialects and whose societies are more identified with those of the Sepik lower regions than with that of the riverine Abau. On the north side of the Sepik, there is a space of marshes evaluating from woods to sketchy grass country. People of unrelated languages share a culture similar to that of the Abau.

The Historical and Cultural Background of Abau Community

Abau speakers are mainly divided into Biaka speakers from the north and Pyu speakers from the west, whose dialects are similar to each other at the phylum level. Some of the Abau tribes tell how they originate from areas farther downstream from where they are living now; some say that they are from the May River. People of the Abau community seem to have been little feeling of devotion among their groups. For the Abau community, enmity is the most strongest and enduring way to connect to the people of different language communities. There is no historical record of the Abau village, however an Abau Artifact is recognized as a village near Green River patrol post.

The first-ever person who contacts the Abau was European, a member of German-Dutch. A little ethnographic collection of Abau Community is in the Museum “Fur Volkerkunde” in Berlin. In 1914, Richard Thurnwald investigated broadly all through the upper bowl of the Sepik, following that stream nearly to its source close to Telefomin. There was a small airstrip in the Idam valley during the 1960s but soon it disappears because of some drainage issues. Another airstrip was based on the August River in the mid-1970s to support a little police post there. The Christian Mission to Many Lands has had a little station based at Green River since 1953.

What the Linguist affiliation of the Abau language?

Tonemes described the Abau language and it belongs to the Sepik-Ramu phylum of Non-Austronesia (Papuan) dialect. Lwam language is the most closely related lingo to the Abau language, people living along the Sepik and the lower May River, downstream from the Abau, speaks Lwam. Lwam and Abau languages have 30% related vocabulary to each other.

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definition abau

What are the reasons that make the Abau language an endangered language?

Abau language is  one of the Indigenous languages of the world.  These indigenous languages become extinct because our new generation started to learn other dominant languages and forget about their native tongue and this is the main reason behind the extinction of languages.

When the people of Europe began to localize in North America, Native Americans were placed at boarding school, where they were taught English, the dominant language, and forced to cultural assimilation.

And this forced assimilation becomes the reason that trolls the linguistic diversity as a result  Indigenous languages started to decline since 1790. According to Human biology sophomore Alexa Oldman, it is very difficult to keep these indigenous languages alive.

According to UNESCO, the world will lose half of its languages by the year 2100. Today, there are around 7000 languages in the world out of these living languages 2795-3010 languages that are approximately 43% of the total, are enlisted as endangered.

What measurements are taken to save Abau language to become extinct?

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the most linguistically diverse country with approximately 800 languages. And this diversity is a big challenge for the students to enter school because of insufficient knowledge of English, the official language of education.

SIL takes measurements and started an Abau Multilingual Educational Program in 1990. According to this program, students can learn the Abau Literacy vernacular to literacy in English.

The government of Papua New Guinea is taking action to address this multilingual educational program in 1989. They are trying their best to raise the Abau language by making sure that every student is taking the reading and writing course of Abau language.

In 1994, the Abau Training center opened, where native speakers are teaching others to increase the other of teachers and staff that will further teach basic literacy Abau language the students. This program is designed to give unreached people an opportunity to get an education as well. This multilingual program shows a clear effect as 90% of the students achieve the top 50% academic performance. And the students, who took the Abau literacy course class, were able to attain high academic achievements at the Government schools like Green River High School.


We can sum up here by saying that we need to be concern about endangered languages as much as we concern about the biological environment. As a garden needs colorful flowers to attract us, the world needs languages like those colorful flowers. If need to take this seriously as much as we take our lives and livings. Language is one of the most important things that we have in our humanity to share.

To learn more about languages, keep reading our blogs. We try to help you explore new and old languages through our blogs. For all your translation needs, contact us via email, call or live chat.

Moreover, Anti-Semitism is highly contagious in today’s life. No one should have the right to violate the privacy of another person or to make him feel inferior. Therefore, anyone who uses this offensive language faces punishment from the schools. The Semitic lingos which people used in the past and current era are both different. And they have their significance. Hope this article helps you in exploring this diverse language group. For any queries, feel free to contact us!

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