East Sepik Province

Wamut Language

The Wamut [afk] language of the Suhpuhn (sɨpɨn) people of Wambrumas village in the Karawari river region of East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea is also known as Nanubae in the extant linguistic literature. It has approximately 200 speakers in this village out of a total of somewhere between 800-1,000.

Tok Pisin is replacing Wamut among members of the younger generations of the community in Wambrumas village. Wamut is one of only three languages belonging to the obscure Arafundi phylum. Our main consultants are James Sangai and Ivino Sabakui.


 Yokoim (Karawari) Language

Yokoim, also known as Karawari and Tabriak [tzx], is one of two ethnolinguistically distinct varieties of a language of the Lower Sepik family of the Ramu-Lower Sepik phylum. It is spoken in three villages, Kundiman, Manjamai and Konmei in the Karawari river region of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.

The 800 or so Yokoim-speaking Karawari claim not to be able to understand the 1,200-strong ethnolinguistically distinct upriver Yakwaim Karawari, who occupy six or seven hamlets or villages centered around Ambonwari. The reverse is not maintained by the Ambonwari Yakwaim, who claim that the Yokoim variety is easily understandable. Although linguistically quite similar, the Yakwaim are considered to be a distinct tribe by the Yokoim called Sungat or Chungat.

Yokoim has a complex noun class system that is partly phonological (sound-based) and partly semantic in nature. The verbs of Yokoim show complicated subject+object agreement patterns and an elaborate system of aspectual and modal verb forms. Our main Yokoim consultants include Nick Waikay and Ben Koni of Konmei, Louis Kolisi and Felix Andi of Kundiman, and Chris Nick and Augus Kaien of Manjamai. Our main Yakwaim consultant is Julius Sungulmari.

Yokoim Project Photos

Louis Kolisi, Yokoim consultant with his guitar, Karawari, East Sepik Province, PNG. Photo by Chris Rainier
Yokoim consultant Felix Andi working with Greg Anderson and David Harrison, Karawari, East Sepik Province, PNG. Photo by Chris Rainier

Yokoim Video Clips

Yimas (Karim) Language

Karim is the name of the tribe and the language [yee] spoken by the elder generations in Yimas-1 and Yimas-2 villages in the Karawari river region of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.

The language is known as Yimas in the linguistic literature and has been well studied by William Foley. Yimas-2 village is within sight of the Yokoim Karawari village Kundiman and the children from both villages attend the same school, a situation that parents from both communities consider to be one of the primary reasons that both languages are giving way to Tok Pisin.

Though they are similar in several ways as related sister languages within the Ramu-Lower Sepik phylum, Karim and Yokoim are not mutually intelligible. Paul Abi, Steven Mambi Yakaitapan and Ambrose Otto served as our primary consultants in the Karim sample below, recorded in Yimas-2 village.


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