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Fly River

    Timothy Usher (Santa Fe Institute) and Edgar Suter

    Situation

    The Fly River family is comprised of perhaps eighteen or nineteen languages spoken in South New Guinea, from the Casuarina Coast region and Marianne Strait in the west to the the Papuan Gulf in the east.

    Subclassification

    The internal classification of Fly River is as follows:

    Fly River
        Marind-Yaqay
            Marind
            Yaqay-Warkay
        Lake Murray
        Lower Fly River
        Inland Gulf
            Ipiko
            West Inland Gulf

    Sources

    [under construction]

    Nevermann (1940) Sohur (Yaqay)
    Drabbe (1954: 73-98) grammar and (pp. 128-142) 428 comparative terms for Jaqaj
    Voorhoeve (1971: 92-94) brief description and (pp. 110-114) 107 comparative terms for Warkay
    Kainakainu, Paidi, Rinantanti and Morin (1988) phonology and (pp. 97-184) large comparative vocabulary of Yakhai
    Kanakaimu (2000) Yakhai verbs (unobtained)
    Kriens and Lebold (2010: 40-53) 239 comparative terms for Yaqay of Kogo, Kotup, Rayam, Wairu and Wanggate villages

    Ray (1907: 391-412) … comparative terms for Tugeri after Montague (n.d.)
    van der Kolk and Vertenten (1922) dictionary of Marindineesch
    van der Kolk (1926) Marindineesch kin terms
    Geurtjens (1926) Marindineesch grammar (unobtained)
    Geurtjens (1933: 46-350) dictionary of Marindineesch (Southeast Marind,) large vocabularies of (pp. 373-383) Sangaseesch (Atih) and (pp. 385-395) Boven-Biansch (Mbian) dialects and (pp. 398-433) 455 comparative terms for Marindineesch
    Nevermann (1939: 15, …) … for Marind-anim (Southeast Marind)
    Boelaars (1950: 1-18) English-language recension of Drabbe's unpublished grammar of Gawir (Southeast Marind)
    Drabbe (1954: 99-117) grammar of Boven-Mbian of Kolam village and (pp. 128-142) 427 comparative terms for Boven-Mbian and Gawir (Southeast Marind)
    Drabbe (1955: ibid.) grammar of East Marind of Urumb village and (pp. 148-151) 98 comparative terms for Ooster (East,) Wester (West,) Atih, Kumb and Mbian dialects
    Donohue (1996) 159 comparative terms for Kuler (Southeast Marind) and Sanayu (Kumbe) villages
    Sohn, Lebold and Kriens (2009: 31-42) … comparative terms for Matara village (Southeast Marind)
    Lebold, Kriens and de Vries (2010: 46-56) 240 comparative terms for Alaku, Ihalik, Kaptel and Sanggase villages and 69 comparative terms for Kaniskobat, Makaling, Nakias, Okaba, Poepe, Tagaepe and Wambi villages

    Murray (1916-1917) 57 Zimakani words
    Austen (1921-1922a) 69 comparative terms for Village Y (Koumak)
    Austen (1921-1922b) 47 comparative terms for two varieties of Zimakani (Lake Murray, Village Z,) Village Y (Koumak) and unidentified dialect (Village X) of Kuni-Boazi. Austen's Lake Murray terms are drawn from Murray (1916-1917)
    Rentoul (1924-1925) 106 comparative terms for Koumak
    Nevermann (1939) …
    Boelaars (1950: 55-59) English language recension of Drabbe's unpublished grammar of Boazi
    Drabbe (1954: 118-127) grammar and (pp. 128-142) 418 comparative terms for Boazi
    Voorhoeve (1970: 7-14) 242 comparative terms for Bagwa (Begua) and Zimakani dialects of Zimakani, and South Boazi and Kuini dialects of Kuni-Boazi
    Fumey (2005) Kuni absolutives (unobtained)
    Fumey (2006) sketch phonology of Kuni
    Fumey (2007) grammar of Kuni
    Fumey (p.c. 2014) notes on Kuni grammar

    Chalmers (1897: 139-144) 93 terms for Tagota (Makayam) (unobtained)
    Ray (1907: 391-412) … comparative terms for Pisirami (Makayam) after Riley (n.d.) and Tagota after Chalmers (1897)
    Ray (1923) …
    Riley (1931-1932: 172-189) 415 comparative terms for Tirio (Baramu)
    Williams (1936: 30-31) 7 comparative terms for Arama (Were) and Anima (Makayam)
    Jore (2002) 190 comparative terms for Bituri of Upiara, Bisuaka and Tewara villages
    Jore (2002) 190 comparative terms for Were of Dewala village
    Jore (2002) 190 comparative terms for Makayam of Lewada and Aduru villages and Baramu of Tirio #2
    Jore (2002) 190 comparative terms for Abom and Giribam of Janor village
    Jore and Alemán (2002: 43-48) 162 comparative terms for Bituri of Upiara, Bisuaka and Tewara villages, Giribam of Janor, Makayam of Lewada and Aduru, Were of Dewala, Baramu of Tiro #2 and Abom

    Johnston (1919-1920) 120 comparative terms for Eme-eme (Foeafoea) of Korariperamesina or Pepeha village
    Cridland (1923-1924) 130 comparative terms for Mahigi village
    Chance (1925-1926) 131 comparative terms for Ipiko of Amipoki village
    Franklin (1973: 270-273) miscellaneous notes including lexicostatistics, phonological observations and pronouns for Ipiko (Ibigo,) Minanibai (Foeafoea) and Tao-Suamato (Mubami)
    Franklin ed. (1973: 577-578,) Franklin (1975: 264-268) 100 comparative terms for Ipiko, Minanibai and Tao-Suamato
    Reesink (1976) 100 comparative terms for Tao-Suamato
    Reesink (n.d.) survey vocabulary of Tao-Suamato provided in comparative spreadsheet format by Paul Whitehouse via the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ukarumpa
    Carr (1991) 120 comparative terms for Foyafoya of Bibisa village, Hoyahoya of Matakia and Hoyahoya (Hoia Hoia) of Ukusi-Kaperami
    Carr (1991) 99 comparative terms for Ipiko, Minanibai and Mubami
    Carr (2006) 164 comparative terms and 20 comparative phrases for Pepeha village (Foeafoea)
    Carr (2006) sketch phonology of Hoyahoya
    MacKenzie (2002) 176 comparative terms and 19 comparative phrases for Mubami of Ugu/Kala, Parieme and Sogae villages
    Petterson (2002) 170 comparative terms and 2 comparative phrases for the Eva dialect of Ipiko
    Petterson (2007: 17-32) 971 terms for Eva of Pakeuaba village
    Petterson (2014) 204 comparative terms and 26 comparative phrases for Foeafoea of Bibisa village
    Petterson (2014) notes on Eva grammar
    Petterson (2014) dictionary of Eva and Ibigo
    Allen and Keneqa (2006) sketch phonology of Foia Foia with no English-language glosses

    History of classification

    [under construction]

    Ray (1907) …
    The existence of a special relationship between Marind and Zimakani implicitly recognized nearly a century ago by Anonymous' (1917-1918: 98) "Comparative vocabularies of language spoken at Lake Murray…and of the language of the Marind-Anim, at Merauke.” This classification also appears in Murray and Ray (1918: 40-45,) albeit with comparisons to some Trans-Fly languages included.
    Drabbe (1954, Boelaars 1950.) …
    Voorhoeve (1968: 5) placed Drabbe's Yaqay-Marind-Boazi family in his Central and South Guinea Stock. Tirio was also included in the stock, but its special relationship to the western families was not discerned, the only languages to which it was lexicostatistically compared being the unrelated Kiwai and Meriam (pp. 7-8.)
    Franklin (1968: 27-28) recognized West Inland Gulf as the Bamu-Turaman Family, including Pepeha, Mahigi and Karami, which he distinguished from the Kikori River languages. Ipiko (Ipikoi), at this time considered an unclassified isolate (p. 28-29,) was added in (1973: 269-272) to form the Inland Gulf family as it's known today. This was preented in (1975: 861) as a sub-phylum level stock in the Trans New Guinea phylum, with a special relationship both to Kikori River (Turama-Kikorian) and to Voorhoeve's Central and South New Guinea Stock.
    Voorhoeve (1971: 92-94) Warkai …
    Greenberg (1971: 825-829) included both Lower Fly River (Tirio group) and Marind-Yaqay and Lake Murray (Marind group) in his Southwest New Guinea subgroup of Nuclear New Guinea. These were presented as coequal branches alongside Digul River-Ok and Kratke Range (Angan) a proposal for which, particularly in the latter case, we can find no support. The Inland Gulf languages were conflated with Kiwai (and Tabo) (p. 829) due to the presence of loans in both directions, a placement sharply contested by Franklin (1973: 382-383.)
    …
    Jore and Alemán (2002) …

    Historical phonology

    [under construction]

    Due to the relative scarcity of Lower Fly River and Inland Gulf data, it's likely that some problems might at this time not be possible to adequately address, and many protoforms presented here can only be provisional. However, we can provide a rudimentary phonological framework within which the reconstruction of Proto-Fly River can be further developed.

    Proto-Fly River had perhaps 13 consonants and 5 vowels as follows:

*m *n
*p *t *k
*mb *nd *ŋg
*s
*w *r *j

*i *u
*e *o
*a

    The predominance of Marind-Yaqay and Lake Murray in the following charts likely reflect variability in attestation, rather than relative genetic distance.

    Nasals /*m *n/ are generally invariable in all subgroups and occur in all positions:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *m  *m  *m  *m  *m
 ?sand  ?*miri      ?*miri  *miri
 voice/speech  *mean  *mean    *mean  
 two  *meas[i]    *m[i]si[ka] "3"  *mis  *measi
 mouth/tooth  *maŋgot  *maŋg[e/a]t  *maŋgat  *magot  *maɣ̃oto
 earth/ground  *mokan  *mokan      
 fruit/seed  *moko[m]  *mokom  *moko  *moɣom  *moko-moko
 heart  *muki[k]    *muki[k]    *muki
 sugarcane  *ɸim[e/a]k  *him[e]k  *fim[e/a]k    
 louse  *n[u]m[u]ŋg    *numuŋg    
 nape  *temuk  *temuk      *tumuku
 masc. sg.  *-[ae]m    *-[ae]m    *-ame
 younger brother  *am  *am  *am    
 people  *anim  *anim  *anim  *anim  *animi
 man  *anem  *anem  *anem  *anem  *aneme
 woman  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anumu
 navel  *ndekum  *dekum  *dukum  *duɣum  *dukumu
 tail/feather(s)  *sum    *sum  *sum  
 tooth  *kam    *kam  *kam  
 belly  *ŋgandam  *ɣandam  *ɣandam    
   *n  *n  *n  *n  *n
 1 pl.  *ni    *ni(-k)    *ni
 banana  *napet  *napet  *napet    *napeto
 mosquito  *n[a/o]ŋgit  *naŋgit  *naŋg[a]it    *n[a/o]ɣ̃iti
 leech/crocodile  *naŋgo  *naŋgo  *naŋgo    
 1 sg.  *no  *nok  *no(-k)  *nog  *no
 sleep  *nu  *nu    *nu  
 louse  *n[u]m[u]ŋg    *numuŋg    
 people  *anim  *anim  *anim  *anim  *animi
 man  *anem  *anem  *anem  *anem  *aneme
 woman  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anumu
 voice/speech  *mean  *mean    *mean  
 lie down/sleep  *tenV    *tena  *tene  *teno
 darkness  *nd…  *din[o][h]    *duniawi  ?*d[e]n[ao]
 tendon/vein  *kenik  *kenik  *k[i]nik    
 egg/seed  *kanV  *kan[a]      *kan[e]
 earth/ground  *mokan  *mokan      
 stand  *ratin  *atin  *ten  *ratin  

    Plain stops /*p *t *k/ are generally retained as such in all subfamilies:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *p  *p  *p  *p  *p
 forearm  *piŋgi    *piŋgi    *pipiɣ̃i
 star  *opap      *opap  *op[o]po
 banana  *napet  *napet  *napet    *napeto
 lip  *[u]tup  *utup      *[i/u]tupu
 night  *ŋgap  *ɣap    *ɣap  *ɣ̃apo
   *t  *t  *t  *t  *t
 nape  *temuk  *temuk      *tumuku
 lie down/sleep  *tenV    *tena  *tene  *teno
 fire  *tae    *tae    *ta[j]e
 wing  *taɸ  *tah  *taf    *taɸu
 root  *itit  *itit      *titi
 chin  *ete  *ete  *ete    
 lip  *[u]tup  *utup      *[i/u]tupu
 who?/what?  *[u/w][a]tei      *watei  *w[a/o]tei
 coconut  *[oa]ŋgat  *oŋgat  *uaŋgat    
 mouth/tooth  *maŋgot  *maŋg[e/a]t  *maŋgat  *magot  *maɣ̃oto
 banana  *napet  *napet  *napet    *napeto
 mosquito  *n[a/o]ŋgit  *naŋgit  *naŋg[a]it    *n[a/o]ɣ̃iti
 stand  *ratin  *atin  *ten  *ratin  
   *k  *k  *k  *k  *k
 woman/wife  *ki[ɸ/w]a[i/j]u      *kiwa[i/j]u  *ki[ɸ/w]aju
 eye  *kindV[C]  *kind      
 tendon/vein  *kenik  *kenik  *k[i]nik    
 tail  *k[e]nd[e]ɸ  *k[e]nd[e]h      
 cassowary  *ka[u]i[u] (?)  *ka[u]i[u] (?)  *kau[j] (?)    
 tooth  *kam    *kam  *kam  
 egg/seed  *kanV  *kan[a]      *kan[e]
 saliva  *kase  *kase  *kase    

    Medial /*k/ is fricated and voiced to /*ɣ/ in Lower Fly River and retained as /*k/ elsewhere:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *-k-  *k  *k  *ɣ  *k
 fruit/seed  *moko[m]  *mokom  *moko  *moɣom  *moko-moko
 heart  *muki[k]    *muki[k]    *muki
 navel  *ndekum  *dekum  *dukum  *duɣum  *dukumu

    Final /*k/ …:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *-k  *k  *k    *k
 accompany  *aɸik  *ahik  *fik    
 pig  *mbasik  *basik  *basik    
 sugarcane  *ɸim[e/a]k  *him[e]k  *fim[e/a]k    
 nape  *temuk  *temuk      *tumuku
 tendon/vein  *kenik  *kenik  *k[i]nik    

    Initial anterior prenasalized stops /*mb *nd/ are realized as plain voiced stops /*b *d/ in all subfamilies:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *mb-  *b  *b  *b  *b
 bone  *mbai[a]ŋg    *bajag  *baig  
 pig  *mbasik  *basik  *basik    
 thigh  *mboɸo    *bofo    *boɸo
 breast  *mbumb  *bub    *bub  
   *nd-  *d  *d  *d  *d
 tree  *nde  *de      *de
 navel  *ndekum  *dekum  *dukum  *duɣum  *dukumu
 sago  *nd[o]u  ?*da  *dou    *dou
 darkness  *nd…  *din[o][h]    *duniawi  ?*d[e]n[ao]

    Medial /*nd/ …:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *-nd-  *nd  *nd    
 eye  *kindV  *kind      
 tail  *k[e]nd[e]ɸ  *k[e]nd[e]h      
 belly  *ŋgandam  *ɣandam  *ɣandam    
 palm/sole  *j[e/a]ndV  *jandV  *jenda    

    There is as of yet no indication that /*mb/ occurred medially.

    Since initial plain voiced /*g/ exists in all subfamilies, it might be expected that these would reflect Fly River initial /*ŋg/. However, no indisputable examples of such a correspondence have yet been identified. On the other hand, velar non-stop /*ɣ/ is similarly allowed in medial position in all subfamilies, but in Lower Fly River it's known to reflect medial /*k/ (above,) while in Inland Gulf it reflects medial /*ŋg/ (below); no non-initial examples of /*ɣ/ corresponding to one another have been identified. Accordingly, we propose that the reflex of Fly River /*ŋg/ is /*ɣ/ in all subfamilies, and that Fly RIver lacked a phonemic /*ɣ/:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *ŋg-  *ɣ  *ɣ  *ɣ  *ɣ̃
 drink  *ŋg[a]i  *ɣ[e]i  *ɣ[i]j (?)  *ɣai  
 rain  *ŋg[oe]  *ɣae  *ɣae    *ɣ̃ojV
 night  *ŋgap  *ɣap    *ɣap  *ɣ̃ap[o]
 belly  *ŋgandam  *ɣandam  *ɣandam    
 2 sg.  *ŋgo  *oɣ  *ɣo(-k)  *ɣog  *ɣ̃o

    This solution finds support in /*ŋgV/ forms of the second person in other Trans-New Guinea subfamilies. The Owen Stanley Range form is at least superficially [*ɣa], however it's probable that this, too, can be reduced to /*ŋgV/. It's also conceivable that the second person plural was /*ŋgio/ rather than /*[i/e]o/, and that initial /*ŋg/ [ɣ] was merely lost before /*i/, as otherwise no examples of this initial segment have been identified. Drabbe (1954: 74) specifies that Yaqay /q/, which reflects /*ɣ/, is not found followed by vowels other than /a o/; this is overwhelmingly (though not exceptionlessly) the case with Marind /*ɣ/ as well.

    Medial /*ŋg/ is reflected as plain voiced /*g/ in Lower Fly and as nasalized fricative /*ɣ̃/ in Inland Gulf:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *ŋg  *ŋg  *ŋg  *g  *ɣ̃
 coconut  *[oa]ŋgat  *oŋgat  *uaŋgat    
 mouth/tooth  *maŋgot  *maŋg[e/a]t  *maŋgat  *magot  *maɣ̃oto
 forearm  *piŋgi    *piŋgi    *pipiɣ̃i
 mosquito  *n[a/o]ŋgit  *naŋgit  *naŋg[a]it    *n[a/o]ɣ̃iti
 leech/crocodile  *naŋgo  *naŋgo  *naŋgo    
 am/hand  *s[e/a]ŋga  *s[e/a]ŋga    *saga  *saɣ̃a
 fish  *j[a/o]ŋga  *j[a]ŋg[V]  *jonga    

    One apparent counterexample is a compound, exemplifying one of several ways in which prenasalized and plain voiced stops might become contrastive:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
 3 sg. m.  *e-gia    *egia  *igia  

    Final prenasalized stops /*mb *nd *ŋg/, if these are to be taken as final, are not very common:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *-mb  *b    *b  
 breast  *mbumb  *bub    *bub  
   *-nd  *d    *d  
 laugh  *awend  *awed    *awed  
   *-ŋg  *ɣ  *…  *…  
 bone  *mbai[a]ŋg    *bajag  *baig  
           
 louse  *n[u]m[u]ŋg    *numuŋg    
 branch  *taŋg  *taɣ  *taŋg    

    Bilabial fricative /*ɸ/ is deoccluded to /*h/ in Marind-Yaqay.:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *ɸ  *h  *f  *w  *ɸ
 bone  *ɸia[u]  *hiau      *ɸia
 sugarcane  *ɸim[e/a]k  *him[e]k  *fim[e/a]k    
 accompany  *aɸik  *ahik  *fik    
 house  *aɸV  *aha  *fa    *aɸo
 give birth  *aɸ  *ah  *af    
 lung(s)  *aɸaɸ  *ahah  *faf    
 thigh  *mboɸo    *bofo    *boɸo
 wing  *taɸ  *tah  *taf    *taɸu
 tail  *k[e]nd[e]ɸ  *k[e]nd[e]h      

    Fricative /*s/ is retained as such in all four subfamilies and occurs in all positions:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *s  *s  *s  *s  *s
 arm/hand  *s[e/a]ŋga  *s[e/a]ŋga    *saga  *saɣ̃a
 fish/meat  *s[e/o]wa[i]    *sewa  *s[o]wai  
 tongue  *sas    *sas    *sasa
 tail/feather(s)  *sum    *sum  *sum  
 ?nest/bird  *ewesa  *ewesa      *ewesa
 sneeze  *asi  *asi  *asi[s]    
 two  *meas[i]    *m[i]si[ka]  "3"  *mis  *measi
 pig  *mbasik  *basik  *basik    
 saliva  *kase  *kase  *kase    
 go down  *awis  *awis  *wis    

    A small number of examples suggest that there may have been an apical non-stop /*r/ which was lost everywhere except for Lower Fly:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *r  *ø  *ø  *r  *ø
 stand  *ratin  *atin  *ten  *ratin  
 meat/flesh  *arin[u]      *arin  *ainu
 mouth/lip  *t[a/o]u[a]r    *t[ou]  *tawar  

    Glides /*j *w/ are retained as such in all subfamilies:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *j  *j  *j  *j  *j
 palm  *j[e/a]nd[a]  *jandV  *jenda    
 fish  *j[a/o]ŋga  *j[a]ŋg[V]  *joŋga    
 older brother  *ja  *[i]j  *(e-)ja[e]  *[j]ei (?)  *iji  (?)
 one  *ija (?)  *ija[kod]      *...
   *w  *w  *w  *w  *w
 parents  *wi  *(i-)wi      
 father  *w[e]  *(e-)w[ai]  *(e-)we  *(e-)we  *(e-)we
 mother  *wu  *(e-)wu  *(e-)wu  *(i-)wu  *(i-)wu
 weep  *iw  *iw      *iwo
 ?nest/bird  *ewesa  *ewesa      *ewesa
 go down  *awis  *awis  *wis    
 laugh  *awend  *awed    *awed  
 come  *aw  *aw  *aw    

    Inland Gulf appends a vowel to word-final consonants as follows:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *-iC  *iC  *iC    *iCi/*iCo
 root  *itit  *itit      *titi
 weep  *iw  *iw      *iwo
 mosquito  *n[a/o]ŋgit  *naŋgit  *naŋgait    *n[a/o]ɣ̃iti
   *-eC  *eC  *eC  *eC  *eCe/*-eCo
 singular  *-[ae]m    *-[ae]m    *-eme
 man  *anem  *anem  *anem  *anem  *aneme
 banana  *napet  *napet  *napet  *napet  *napeto
   *-aC    *aC    *aCa
 tongue  *sas    *sas    *sasa
   *-aC  *aC    *aC  *aCo
 star  *opap      *opap  *op[o]po
 night  *ŋgap  *ɣap      *ɣ̃apo
   *-aC  *aC  *aC    *aCu
 wing  *taɸ  *tah  *taf    *taɸu
   *-oC      *oC  *oCo
 mouth/tooth  *maŋgot  *maŋg[e/a]t  *maŋgat  *magot  *maɣ̃oto
   *-uC  *uC  *uC  *uC  *uCu
 woman  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anumu
 lip  *[u]tup  *utup      *[i/u]tupu
 nape  *temuk  *temuk      *tumuku
 navel  *ndekum  *dekum  *dukum  *duɣum  *dukumu

    Gender ablaut

    Among the most conspicuous features of Fly River languages is the distinction of nominal gender by a system of vocal ablaut in final syllables. These reflect a development of Trans-New Guinea's postposed gender articles unique to the Fy River subgroup:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
   *e/*u/*i  *e/*u/*i  *e/*u/*i  *e/*u/*i  *e/*u/*i
 man  *anem  *anem  *anem  *anem  *aneme
 woman  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anum  *anumu
 people  *anim  *anim  *anim  *anim  *animi
 father  *w[e]  *(e-)w[ai]  *(e-)we  *(e-)we  *(e-)we
 mother  *wu  *(e-)wu  *(e-)wu  *(i-)wu  *(i-)wu
 parents  *wi  *(i-)wi      

    There is in addition to these three a neuter gender which is expressed in Marind and Yaqay as /a/ or /o/. Drabbe (1954, 1955) details gender variation, including adjectival agreement, in Yaqay and East Marind (Gawir.)

    Pronouns

    Fly River nominative pronouns are reconstructed as follows:

   Fly River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
 1 sg.  *no  *nok  *no(k)  *naoɣ  *no
 2 sg.  *ŋgo  *oɣ  *ɣo(k)  *ɣaoɣ  *ɣ̃o
 3 sg. m.  *e-  *anep  *egia  *igi  *ete
 3 sg. f.  *u-  *anup  *u-  ?  *etu
 1 pl.  *ni  ?  *ni(k)  *naoj  *ni
 2 pl.  *[i/e]o  *eoɣ  *jo(k)  *jaoɣ  *jo
 3 pl.  *i-  *anip  *i-  *jiɣ  *eti

    Outcomparison to Digul River-Ok shows the bases /*e *u *i/ to be the original to the third person masculine singular, feminine singular and plural respectively. The feminine base is found in Zimakani, where femine [uaʁa], plural [iaʁa] are found alongside masculine [egiæ ≈ ɛziɛ] (Voorhoeve 1970: 9, 12, 13;) however, it's not clear that these are historically distinct from inalienable possessives. The Inland Gulf third persons may have originally been demonstratives; cf. Abom [e(:)te] given both as 3 sg. and "that." Boazi (Drabbe 1954: 119) has distinct possessive forms in the third person, masculine /te/, feminine /tu/, plural /ti/, which conceivably reflect the same root.

    Descriptions of bound pronouns are only available for Boazi, Yaqay, Upper Mbian and East Marind (Gawir) (Drabbe 1954, 1955: 28-31, Boelaars 1950,) so the remainder of our discussion is based primarily upon the western families, although some Ipiko forms may be deduced from the vocabulary given in Pettersen (2007: 17-32.)

    Inalienable possessors are found on kinship terms. Like the objects (below,) with which thy can be assumed to be historically identical, the first person singular and the second person possessors share the vowel /*a/, rather than /*o/ which characterizes the free nominatives. All paradigms thusfar documented are defective in lacking a distinct first person plural form. The Boazi and Yaqay paradigms have conflated the third persons to /*e/, while Gawir has replaced the second plural with singular /h-/ (< /*ɣ/):

   Fly River  Yaqay  Gawir  Boazi  Ipiko
 1 sg. poss.  *na-  na-  n-  n-  na-
 2 sg. poss.  *ŋga-  qa-  h-  ɣa  va- [< *ɣ̃a-]
 3 sg. m. poss.  *e-  e-  e-  e-  e- ≈ i-
 3 sg. f. poss.  *u-  e-  u-  u-  e- ≈ i-
 1 pl. poss.  *na-  na-  n-  n-  ?
 2 pl. poss.  *[i/e]a-  e'a-  h-  za-  ?
 3 pl. poss.  *i-  e-  i-/e-  e-  ?

    Prefixed objects occur with some basic verbs (e.g. "give", "see") these immediately precede the verb root and follow subject prefixes (below,) showing subject prefixation to be more recent in origin. The reflexes of the second person singular show them to have been in word-initial position prior to the development of /*ɣ/ from initial /*ŋg/ (above.). There does not appear to be any gender distinction in the third person singular:

   Fly River  Yaqay  Gawir  Upper Mbian  Boazi  Ipiko
 1 sg. obj.  *na-  -na-  -n-  -na-  -na-  na-
 2 sg. obj.  *ŋga-  -aqa-  -h-/-a-  -ɣ-/-a-  -ɣa-  ?
 3 sg. m. obj.  *?  -o-  -o-  -o-  -o-  a-
 3 sg. f. obj.  *?  -o-  -o- ≈ -u-  -o-  -o-  ?
 1 pl. obj.  *ni-  -e-ne-  -e-n-  -e-n-/-na-e  -na-  ni-
 2 pl. obj.  *[i/e]a-  -e-e-  -z-/-e-  -e-ɣ-/-a-e-  -za-  ra- ≈ ha- [< *ja-]
 3 pl. obj.  *?  -e-  -z- ≈ -i- ≈ -e-  -e-  -za-  ?

    Fly River verbal subjects were originally identical to the unaugmented forms of the free pronouns. As they are preposed rather than prefixed in Gawir, and as the reflexes of the second person singular object show objects to have been word initial, the prefixation of subjects is secondary. The origins of Yaqay's first persons and second person plural form are unknown, as are those of Upper Mbian generally:

   Fly River  Yaqay  Gawir  Upper Mbian  Boazi
 1 sg. sbj.  *no  oko-  no/nak-  ab-  no-
 2 sg. sbj.  *ŋgo  aqa-  o  ebo-  ɣo-
 3 sg. m. sbj.  *e  e-  a/e  eb-  ge-
 3 sg. f. sbj.  *u  u-  a/e  eb-  gu-
 1 pl. sbj.  *ni  iki-  nak-e  ab-e-  ni-
 2 pl. sbj.  *[i/e]o  epe-  e  ebo-e-  zu-
 3 pl. sbj.  *i  i-(n)-  e-n/n  eb-e-(n)-  gi-

    Loans from Morehead River

    Morehead River's velar nasal /*ŋ/ …initial prenasal segments [nd ŋ g] which didn't otherwise occur. The medial correspondence in "dog" is also unexpected and irregular, reflecting three distinct correspondences, /*t/, /*s/, /*ɣ/:

 Morehead River  Marind-Yaqay  Lake Murray  Lower Fly  Inland Gulf
 star  *ndVku  M. *ndaku  *ndiku    
 dog  *ŋaθ[e]o  Y. qake [pd]
 M. *ŋgat
 *[ŋ]gaɣo  *gas[a]  *gaso

    The term for "dog" has spread as far as Lake Kutubu and Kikori River. The Bosavi and Soari River forms agree with those of Lower Fly and Inland Gulf in showing medial /*s/. The Yaqay word would seem to reflect Marind-Yaqay /*ɣake/. The sum of evidence suggests at least three distinct borrowing events of the same root at a time probably following the breakup of Fly River, but possibly before the breakup of Lower Fly-Inland Gulf; only the easternmost of these proved broadly influential.

    Loans to Kiwai

    The following are presumed to be loans from Fly River or more likely one of its Eastern subgroups into Kiwai. Proto-Kiwai forms are drawn from or in consultation with Shafer (1965.) Like Inland Gulf, Kiwai adds a final vowel to consonant-final roots:

   Fly River  Kiwai
 coconut  *[oa]ŋgat  *goata
 mouth  *maŋgot  *magota
 mosquito  *naŋgit  *nakati
 sago  *ndou  *dou