Facts about the Endangered Abun language

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Over 7000 languages are spoken all around the world, and every language matters. When a language is lost, most of the knowledge along with it gets lost.

Today we want access to everything but we don’t want to even know about the people living on the other side of the world. And that the saddest fact, we should respect their culture, tradition, language, and everything. People do care about identity as they want to be different, and language is a part of one’s identity. No one wants that their mother tongue becomes extinct in the future.

In this article, we will discuss the endangered language i.e. Abun language. We will talk about all the facts about it. So, let’s begin!

Facts about the Endangered Abun Language

Abun is an endangered Papuan language spoken in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, on the Northern coast of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in Abun District. People in sub-districts of Sausapor and Mega speak Abun, as well. Other dialect names Abun language are Yimbun, Anden, Manif, or Koran. It is the only language that is not related to any other language. In 2005 Ross assigned it to be the West Papuan family language, due to the similarities in pronouns. Later in 2018, Ethnologue and Glottolog enlisted it in language isolate

Abun language has three lexical tones, out of which only two are distinguished as minimal pair. These pairs are available in limited vocabulary. That’s why Abun loses its tonality because of linguistic change. Abun is somehow in contact with Austronesian languages because it is spoken in West New Guinea. Maritime vocabulary in Abun is originated from Baik.  

facts abun language
endangered papuan languages

Classification of the Abun Language

The Abun Language is classified by Wurm, as Papuan Language. It is a part of the small west Papuan Phylum. Besides, Abun language is a member of Bird’s Head Superstock, the Central Bird’s Head Stock, and the North Bird’s Head Family. However, Wurm listed Abun as separated languages. At the end of the 19th century, Berry & Berry presented further information about lexical similarities and structural similarities. So, Abun is a family level isolated in the Central Bird’s Head

Abun Settings and Dialects

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Over 3000, native speakers spread across 18 villages and some various isolated hamlets. The Abun region possesses a stretch of the Northern coast of the Bird’s Head Peninsula. The neighboring languages are:

  • Moi toward the southwest along the coast
  • Moraid and Karon Dori toward the south (later Maybrat)
  • Mpur toward the east.

People who speak the Abun language refer to their languages as Abun or Anden. Neighboring groups also have several names such as Moi is referred as Madik, Mpur as Yimbun, or Yembun. On the other hand, Baik people call it Karon Pantai.

Abun language has four distinct dialects:

  • Abun Tat: People from the Northern-eastern region speak Abun. It has 600 mother-tongue speakers.
  • Abun Ye: People of the middle coastal region speak Abun Ye. It has 400 native speakers.
  • Abun Ji /r/: It is spoken in coastal and interior regions north of Som River and the number of speakers is 1200. 
  • Abun Ji /I/: It is spoken in the Southern region of Som River and has 800 speakers. 

People who speak Abun Tat find it difficult to understand Adun Ji than Abun Ye. Abun exists on a dialect continuum from Abun Tat to Abun Ji.

Endangered Papuan languages other than Abun

Great linguist diversity exists in Papua New Guinea, this much linguist diversity makes a lot of languages endangered. Following are some of the exceptionally endangered languages in PNG

Anuki language

Anuki language is an Austronesian language. People of Gabobora along cape Vogel in the Milne Bay Province of PNG speak the Anuki language. It has only 890 native speakers left on earth.

Ainbai language 

Ainbai language is the language of Sandaun Province in PNG. It is a Papuan language. It had 100 native speakers in 2003. The people of Ainbai village, Bewani-Wutung Onei Rural also speak the Ainbai language.

Bagupi Language

It is very close to extinction. Only 50 native speakers of the Bagupi language have left on earth. People from Madang Province of Papua New Guinea speak the Bagupi language

Bosilewa Language

Bosilewa is also known as Bole, Bolawa, Bolanchi, Bolewa languages. It is the language of the West Chadic language. People in Nigeria speak the Bosilewa language. It has 100,00 native speakers. Moreover, the dialects of the Bosilewa language include Bara and Fika.

Doga language

Doga language belongs to the Austronesian language of the family in PNG. It has 200 native speakers. People in Cape Vogel and Milne Bay Province speak the Doga language

Kursa Language 

Other names of the Kursa language are Faita or Kulsab. It is the Madang language of the Adelbert Range of Papua New Guinea and also near to extinction.

Kaiep language

Kaiep language belongs to the Kairiru language family of Turubu Rural LLG, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. People in Kep, Taul, and Samap village speak the Kaiep language. It has nearly 200 native speakers.

Iteri Language

People living in the Rocky Peak Mountains of Sandaum Province speak the Iteri language. It has 475 native speakers left in the world. It is also on the top of the list of endangered languages.

endangered language abun
abun language

How to save the Abun language?

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.

Like other countries, Papua New Guinea should also take measures to save their endangered languages. Several common methods are used to keep languages alive.

Speak your Native Language

The most important factor that people can do to save their languages is to speak their native tongue in their daily lives. Moreover, People need to understand that they should value their mother tongue and don’t comprise their languages over the dominant languages.

Creating records and printed resources

Creating and printed documentation is very important to preserve endangered languages. Linguists should work on it; they can take from the native speakers of that particular language. Moreover, they can publish and preserve resources in libraries, academic organizations, and museums so that people can access them easily.

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According to research, we have already lost half of the world’s languages and it is predicted that if we keep on ignoring we will lose more languages in the future. So we need to make sure that we as a citizen also need to take part in saving languages and keep them alive. Because languages are an important part of our culture and identity and we should not compromise on our identities. So we need to address this issue and make our identities unique.

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