|northern New Guinea coast near Vanimo|
|Linguistic classification||Northwest Papuan?|
The Sko or Skou languages are a small language family spoken by about 7000 people, mainly along the Vanimo coast of Sandaun Province in Papua New Guinea, with a few being inland from this area and at least one just across the border in the Indonesian province of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya).
- I’saka: ẽyH ‘louse’, weyL ‘butterfly’, weyLH ‘house’, weyHL ‘language’
- Barupu: eH ‘tooth’, eL ‘garden’, eHL ‘mosquito’, eHLH ‘write’
- Wutung: hoH ‘roof thatch made from sago palm fronds’, hoL ‘star’, hoHL ‘grease’
- Skou: taH ‘grass’, taL ‘hair’, taHL ‘arrow’
Lakes Plain languages, spoken in a discontiguous area to the southwest, are also tonal. Because of the apparent phonological similarities and sharing of stable basic words such as ‘louse’, Foley speculates the potential likelihood of a distant relationship shared between the Skou and Lakes Plain families, but no formal proposals linking the two families have been made due to insufficient evidence. Additionally according to Foley, based on some lexical and phonological similarities, the Keuw language (currently classified as a language isolate) may also possibly share a deep relationship with the Lakes Plain languages. Like the Lakes Plain languages, Keuw also possesses constrative tone.
- Isolating structure: Dumo, an Inner Skou language
- Polysynthetic structure: Barupu, a Piore River language
Skou languages were first linked by G. Frederici in 1912. In 1941, K.H. Thomas expanded the family to its current extent.
Sko (Laycock 1975)
Laycock posited two branches, Vanimo and Krisa:
- Vanimo branch – Skou, Sangke (Nyao), Wutung, Vanimo (Dumo)
- Krisa branch – I’saka (Krisa), Rawo, Puari, Barupu (Warapu)
Skou (Ross 2005)
However, Krisa is poorly supported and Malcolm Ross abandoned it,
- I’saka (Krisa)
- Barupu (Warapu)
- Vanimo branch: Skou (Tumawo), Leitre, Sangke (Nyao), Wutung, Vanimo (Dumo), Dusur
Macro-Skou (Donohue 2002)
- Skou–Serra–Piore linkage
Donohue (2004) notes that is unclear if extinct Nouri is in the Piore River or Serra Hills branch.
Sko (Foley 2018)
Foley's Inner Sko corresponds to Donohue's Western Skou.
The Piore River branch was renamed Lagoon in Miller (2017). The older names of the Piore River languages were from village names; Miller has since renamed them as Bauni, Uni, Bouni, and Bobe, though it is debatable whether they are all distinct languages.
Lagoon (also Piore River)
Usher groups the languages as follows, with each node being a reconstructable clade, and giving the family a geographic label rather than naming it after a single language. The Eastern languages are typologically quite distinct from the Western languages and I'saka.
The pronouns Ross reconstructs for proto-Skou are,
I *na we *ne thou *me you ? he *ka they (M) *ke she *bo they (F) *de
Pronouns in individual Skou languages:
pronoun I'saka Barupu Wutung Skou 1.SG nana něná niɛ nì 2.SG mama měmá mɛ mè 3M.SG kia yá ʔe ke 3F.SG umu bó ce pe 1.PL numu měmí nɛtu ne 2.PL yumu mŏpú ɛtu e 3.PL ie yéi tɛtu te
Sko family cognates gloss I'saka Barupu Wutung Skou ‘hand’ dou eno noʔɛ̃ no ‘tooth’ kũ e ʔũ kə̃ ‘breast’ ni to no no ‘woman’ bu bom wũawũa pɛɨma ‘bird’ yũ ru tĩ tã ‘dog’ naki naʔi nake ‘water’ wi pi pa ‘old’ tuni tɔra rõtoto ‘eat’ a ou (u)a a
The following basic vocabulary words are from Voorhoeve (1971, 1975), as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database. More recent data from Marmion (2010) has been added for Wutung and from Donohue (2002) (as cited in the ASJP Database) for Skou.
(Voorhoeve 1971, 1975)
head hlúqbùr kəsu. rebi röbe; rö́e hair tàng ta ta ta ear qúrlùr le lö eye lúrtô rəto lu; luto lutɔ̀ nose ha ha tooth qúng kə ke* kö leg knaŋku tãe louse hehe fi fi dog náqî naki nakE nakɛ́ pig cà tyamu pálɛ bird tîng ta* tåå; tãŋã egg kuekue ku tã kò blood hnjie hi hi hi bone qêy e e ee skin mà; nua na ro nö re; nö rɔ̀ breast no no* nɔ tree ri ri; rite ri man panyua teba kE ba ba; keba; kébanè; teba woman wungawunga 3mE pemɛ̀ sun hlàng hrã ra* rãã́ moon kE ke water câ tya pa pa fire hie hae ra ra stone wólòng koŋũ wu* hũ; wũ eat sàqèngpùà (1.SG) a* kã; pã; tã one ófà ofa ali* alì two hnyûmò hime hi*tu* hĩ́to
- Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 197–432. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Foley, William A. (2018). "The languages of Northwest New Guinea". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 433–568. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages. In: Hammarström, Harald and Wilco van den Heuvel (eds.), History, contact and classification of Papuan languages (Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012), 313–386. Port Moresby: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea.
- Donohue, Mark; Crowther, Melissa (2005). "Meeting in the middle: interaction in North-Central New Guinea". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 167–184. ISBN 0-85883-562-2. OCLC 67292782.
- Donohue, Mark P. 2007. A Grammar of the Skou Language of New Guinea. Unpublished manuscript.
- Miller, Steve A. 2017. Skou Languages Near Sissano Lagoon, Papua New Guinea. Language and Linguistics in Melanesia 35: 1–24.
- New Guinea World, Vanimo Coast
- Voorhoeve, C.L. "Miscellaneous Notes on Languages in West Irian, New Guinea". In Dutton, T., Voorhoeve, C. and Wurm, S.A. editors, Papers in New Guinea Linguistics No. 14. A-28:47-114. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1971. doi:10.15144/PL-A28.47
- Voorhoeve, C.L. Languages of Irian Jaya: Checklist. Preliminary classification, language maps, wordlists. B-31, iv + 133 pages. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1975. doi:10.15144/PL-B31
- Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
- Marmion, Doug (2010). Topics in the Phonology and Morphology of Wutung (PDF). Canberra: Australian National University.
- Donohue, Mark. Skou Dictionary Draft. Ms.
- Wichmann, Søren (2020). "The ASJP Database". Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- Laycock, Donald C. (1975). "Sko, Kwomtari, and Left May (Arai) phyla". In Stephen A. Wurm (ed.). Papuan languages and the New Guinea linguistic scene: New Guinea area languages and language study 1. Canberra: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. pp. 849–858. OCLC 37096514.
- Ross, Malcolm (2005). "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages". In Andrew Pawley; Robert Attenborough; Robin Hide; Jack Golson (eds.). Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 15–66. ISBN 0858835622. OCLC 67292782.