­     Timothy Usher, Santa Fe Institute


    Kamula (Kamura) is spoken by approximately 800 people (1997) living in three villages, Keseki (Kisigi,) Samokopa (Sokolonepi) and Wasapeya (Wasapea, Kamiyami,) in two enclaves west of the Wawoi river in Papua New Guinea's Western Province. The northern enclave consists of Keseki village, near Wawoi Falls and the borders of Southern Highlands and Gulf Provinces, and Samokopa not far from Keseki. Wasapeya village is located some 60 miles to the south on a lagoon north of Aramia river. Between these is a vast tract of rainforest, believed to be uninhabited, which, along with the local staple food sago, helps sustain the Kamula through hunting and gathering. There are no dialect differences between these villages, and residents of both Keseki and Wasapeya state that they emerged from the bush in recent times (Reesink 1976: 13-14, Shaw 1986: 58, Routamaa and Routamaa 1995: 2, 1996: 3, Routamaa 1997: 4.)


    Reesink (1976: 31-34) 97 comparative terms for Kamula
    Shaw (1986: 68) 99 comparative terms for Kamula
    Rule and Rule (1990) phonology of Kamula (unobtained)
    Rule and Rule (1990) grammar of Kamula (unobtained)
    Routamaa (1994) grammar of Kamula
    Routamaa and Routamaa (1995) phonology for Kamula of Kesiki village
    Routamaa and Routamaa (1996) dialect survey of Kamula
    Routamaa and Routamaa (1997) orthography for Kamula
    Routamaa (1997) Kamula events and participants
    Routamaa (1997) Kamula tail head linkage
    Routamaa and Routamaa (2002) sketch phonology of Kamula
    Routamaa and Routamaa (2007) dictionary of Kamula


    [under construction]

    Routamaa and Routamaa (1995: 3, ibid., 2002) give 13 consonants and 7 vowels for Kamula as follows:

m n
p k
b d g
s h
w ɺ j

i u
e o
æ a

    Vowels are further distinguished by the presence or absence of nasalization:

i ĩ
u ũ
o õ
[ɔ] [ɔ̃]
æ æ̃
a ã

    Routamaa and Routamaa give low-mid front vowel <ɛ> while specifying that is is realized as low-mid [ɛ] following vowels in a sequence and semivowels [w j] and as low [æ] everywhere else (p. 9;) hence we write this as <æ> as this is its prevalent value here and in Kamula's nearest relatives Pa and Aekyom (though historically it may well reflect /*ɛ/.)

    As Routamaa and Routamaa's distinction between rounded high mid back vowel /o/ and low mid /ɔ/ is indicated in some papers (1995,) but not others (1994, 2007,) its phonemic status is open to question.

    Bilabial voicless stop /p/ freely varies with fricative [ɸ] in all environments.
    Apical voiceless stop /t̪/ is realized as dental [t̪], in constrast to voiced /d/ which is alveolar.
    Unoccluded fricative /h/ is found medially in only two roots, /t̪ɔæhæ/ “tree sp.” and /kihi/ “bird sp.” Other instances of medial /h/ arise from compounding or reduplication.
    Apical non-stop /ɺ/, which Routamaa and Routamaa give as <l>, does not occur initially. Medially, it is most typically realized as an alveolar lateral approximant [l] in free variation with a flap [ɾ]. When followed or preceded by a nasalized vowel, it is realized as a nasalized lateral [l̃]. Following an apical stop in a phonetic cluster (below,) or following /b s g/ in a cluster and preceding a high vowel /i u/, it is realized as an alveolar trill [r]. When root-final segment /ɺV₁/ is followed by the initial /ɺV₁/ of an inflectional suffix with an identical vowel, the combined segment /ɺV₁ɺV₁ / is collapsed to [rV]. An analogous process is found in the realization of Samo verb stems (q.v. Shaw 1973: 207.)

    Excepting apical non-stop /ɺ/, any consonant can occur initially or medially. Neither final consonants nor phonemic consonant clusters occur.

    Phonetically, consonant clusters, resulting from the destressing and elision of underlying vowels, are heard fairly frequent in casual speech, though in careful speech the destressed vowel is discernible. The majority of these have a bilabial nasal /m/ or a stop /p b t̪ d k/ followed by apical non-stop /ɺ/. Less frequently, the second member is a stop /t̪ k/ [mt̪ pt̪ st̪ mk sk] or fricative /s/ [ms]. These clusters are heard only medially in words of three or more syllables. Initially, only one cluster is heard, in which the underlying segment /kow/ is heard as rounded velar [kʷ].

    Vowel sequences are of two types. Where the second vowel in the sequence is of equal or greater height than the first, the sequence is heard as a diphthong and constitutes a single syllable [uⁱ eⁱ æⁱ aⁱ oᵘ ɔᵘ aᵘ eᵒ ɔᵋ]. Where the second vowel is lower than the first, each vowel is its own syllable. Sequences of two identical vowels do not occur. Observed vowel sequences are as follows:

i u e o ɔ æ a
i --- --- ie io ia
u ui --- ue --- --- --- ua
e ei --- --- eo --- --- ea
o --- ou --- --- --- --- oa
æ æi --- --- --- --- --- ---
ɔ --- ɔu --- --- --- ɔæ ɔa
a ai au --- --- --- --- ---

    Routamaa and Routamaa recognize three contrastive tones at the syllable level, high, low and rising. Since the following constitute an exhaustive list of minimal pairs, tone is not indicated in the orthography:

   H    L
 back  kɔ́  nail  kɔ̀
 water  jú  word  jù
   H-L    L-L
 bone  'é:ɺò  fish sp.  'è:ɺò
 fireplace  t̪ĩ́ɺẽ̀  tail  t̪ĩ̀ɺẽ̀
   H-L    L-H
 stomach  kókɔ̀  long time  kòkó
   R-L    L-L
 grandfather  'mǎ:mà  moon  'mà:mà
 sago grub  'wæ̃̌:jà  sleeping mat  wæ̃̀:jà
   H-H-H    L-L-L
 raft  t̪ẽ́kẽ́ɺẽ́  cucumber  t̪ẽ̀kẽ̀ɺẽ̀
   H-H-L    L-L-L
 person's name  káɺá:pì  place name  kàɺà:pì

    Long vowels do occur, but are reducible to stress. Routamaa and Routamaa distinguish between three phonetic vowel lengths, long, short and extra-short. Extra short vowels are destressed and barely discernible, leading to apparant consonant clusters (above.) Short vowels occur in unstressed syllables. In stressed syllables, vowels, especially low vowels /æ ɔ a/, are lengthened to around double the timing profile of their unstressed counterparts.

    … stress …

    The vast majority of disyllables are stressed on the first syllable. A small number of disyllables have high tone on the first syllable and stress on the second, while a smaller number have no stressed syllable:



    Stress has been found to be contrastive for only three disyllabic pairs as follows:

   '(C)V:CV    (C)V'CV:
 grandmother  'á:wà  y. sister's child  à'wá:
 house  'á:jà  o. sister's child  à'jà:
 song  'sà:ɺà  wife's y. sib  sá'ɺá:


    Routamaa (1994: 14-15, 45-46) gives pronouns for Kamula in four case forms as follows:

   base  subject/object  possessed  reflexive  emphatic
 1 sg.  n(a)  n-æ  n-oɺe  na-skamu  mo-no-ɺo
 2 sg.  wa  w-e  w-oɺe  wa-skamu  m-o-ɺo
 3 sg.  je  je-ø  j-oɺe  je-skamu  m-e-ɺo
 1 pl.  di  di(-e)  di-oɺe  di-skamu  bi-d-ɺo
 2 pl.  (w)u  uw-e  uw-oɺe  wu-skamu  m-u-ɺo
 3 pl.  ji  ji(-e)  ji-oɺe  ji-skamu  m-i-ɺo
    (base forms and morphemic analysis ours)
    (Routamaa's lables reciprocal and reflexive are given here as reflexive and emphatic respectively.)
    (Routamaa and Routamaa 1995: 9 …)

    Kin terms

    While possession of most kin terms is expressed by simple preposition of the free pronoun, Routamaa (1994: 13-14) identifies six kin terms which take person-marked prefixes as follows. These prefixes are transparently derived from the free pronouns and are directly analogous in composition to forms indicating an unspecified possessed object (above):

   root  1 sg.  2 sg.  3 sg.  1 pl.  2 pl.  3 pl.
     næ- ~ n-  we- ~ w-  je- ~ j-  di-  uw- ~ wu-  ji-
 f.'s y. sister  æɺa  n-æɺa  w-æɺa  j-æɺa  di-æɺa  wu-æɺa  ji-æɺa
 son  ami  n-ami  w-ami  j-ami  di-ami  uw-ami  ji-ami
 daughter  ot̪i  n-ot̪i  w-ot̪i  j-ot̪i  di-ot̪i  uw-ot̪i  ji-ot̪i
 m.'s y. sister  ot̪u-maɺa  n-ot̪u-maɺa  w-ot̪u-maɺa  j-ot̪u-maɺa  di-ot̪u-maɺa  wu-ot̪u-maɺa  ji-ot̪u-maɺa
 wife  oɺu  n-oɺu  w-oɺu  j-oɺu  ---  ---  ---
 husband  weɺaɺi  no-weɺaɺi  we-weɺaɺi  je-weɺaɺi  ---  ---  ---
    (1 sg. /næ/ is regularly reflected as [no] when followed by /w/, 1995: 26.)

    Nominal morphology

    [under construction]

    Routamaa (1994: 12, Routamaa and Routamaa 2007) … number …


    Verbal morphology

    [under construction]

    Routamaa (1994: 24-25) … tense suffixes …

 near past  -ø
 far past  -wa
 present  -ma
 pres. intens.  -ma-ma
 future  -lo

    Routamaa (1994: 26-30) … mood …


    Routamaa (1994: 31-33) … aspect …


    Routamaa (1994: 33-34) … illocutionary force …


    Routamaa (1994: , Routamaa and Routamaa 2007) … verbal number …