Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar

Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar

Language: Moor (Mor) (ISO639-3:mhz)
Depositor: David Kamholz
Location: Indonesia
Deposit Id: 0223
ELDP Id: IGS0102
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit

Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar are Austronesian languages spoken in southeast Cenderawasih Bay belonging to the South Halmahera-West New Guinea (SHWNG) subgroup of Austronesian. These languages are under heavy influence from Indonesian; many members of the youngest generation no longer speak them.

Group represented

Moor has about 1000 speakers in seven villages in southeast Cenderawasih Bay. Most recordings in this collection were made in the village of Mambor.

Yerisiam has about 1000 speakers in villages including Sima in Cenderawasih Bay, Erega in the Yamor Lakes, and Rurumo in Etna Bay. The recordings in this collection were made in the village of Sima.

Yaur has about 1000 speakers in villages along the southwest Cenderawasih Bay coast. The recordings in this collection were made in the village of Yaur.

Umar has about 300 speakers in the villages of Yeretuar and Goni, located in Umar Bay along the southwest Cenderawasih Bay coast. The recordings in this collection were made in the village of Goni.

Language information

Moor (ISO 639-3 mhz) is a West New Guinea (EMP) language spoken in seven villages in southeast Cenderawasih Bay (Papua, Indonesia) with about 1500 speakers:

  • Three villages are in the Moor Islands: Kamurei-Matini (Kama) and Ayombai on Moor, Arui on Ratewo
  • Two villages are in the Haarlem Islands: one on Mambor, one on Hariti
  • Two are on the mainland not far from Napan: Masipawa and Mosan
  • Geographically, its closest languages are: Yaur, Roon, Wandamen, Waropen; Tarunggare (Papuan, Geelvink Bay phylum). Previous research on Moor is limited: the best published source is Laycock (1978), based on work conducted in Australia in 1965–6 with a single speaker from Kamurei-Matini.

    Special characteristics
    Special characteristics Like some related languages in the Raja Ampat islands, Moor, Yerisiam, and Yaur have lexical tone contrasts.

    Deposit contents

    Deposit history

    Other information


    To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite as follows:

    Kamholz, David. 2017. Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar. London: SOAS University of London, Endangered Language Archive, ELAR. URL: (accessed on [insert date here]).


    Resources online and curated


    David Kamholz
    Affiliation: The Long Now Foundation

    Deposit Statistics

    Data from 2018 September 19 to 2018 September 19
    Deposit hits:1
    Downloaded files
    Without statistics

    Showing 1 - 10 of 70 Items

    Through elicitation, Alex pronounces tonal minimal pair, a 250-item basic wordlist, and some basic sentences and paradigms.

    Recorded on: 2008-07-13

    Alpons tells the story of Gavujai, an ancestor. He tells it in Malay, then Umar.

    Recorded on: 2010-08-10

    Apner Lince, and Miriam have a conversation. They begin by talking about how Dave came to study the Moor language and wants to record them. They then talk about recent fishing trips to Ajurei (a sandbar near Mambor) and other nearby places. Apner summarizes the preceding conversation in Papuan Malay. Dave then asks everyone for their birthdays and full names and elicits some words and sentences from Apner (in order to compare his speech with the older generation).

    Recorded on: 2009-06-05

    This recording was made in the Kota Lama neighborhood of Nabire, in a cluster of houses where Sima villagers stay. Several of them can be heard speaking with Arkolaus, including some conversation in Yaur.

    Recorded on: 2011-10-17

    Asariat, Adiriana, Fedrika, and Antoneta have a short conversation about their plans for the coming days (fishing, gardening, travel to Nabire, etc.). This conversation took place immediately following singing songs ("Asariat and family sing songs").

    Recorded on: 2010-09-14

    Asariat sings several songs about love and longing that he wrote in Indonesian, and explains their meaning. Adiriana, Fedrika, and Antoneta sing several love songs in Moor and Indonesian, and a song about Pulau Moor.

    Recorded on: 2010-09-14

    Asariat sings two songs that he wrote. The first is about is about the part of Mambor where he lives; he sings versions in Indonesian and Moor. The second is a love song in Indonesian.

    Recorded on: 2010-09-06

    Asariat begins with the history of Mambor. Mambor was initially unsettled and was used by the Moor and Yaur for fishing. Mambor and Hariti were later settled by inhabitants of Moor looking for a less salty source of drinking water. Because of a mosquito problem, residents of Hariti moved to Mambor for a time. Asariat then describes various sea spirits that live in the area, including Mambaruva. He tells the story of a slave raid (rak) by the Wandamen people in which Mambaruva's drum was stolen. At the end, Asariat translates the stories into Papuan Malay.

    Recorded on: 2008-07-09

    Berta tells stories of Arui village on Pulau Ratewi. She tells about a woman who was the first to give childbirth naturally instead of cutting the baby out of the mother with a sharp piece of bamboo (as in Yunus's story about Manukeke). She next tells about a disaster that destroyed a previous village. At the end, she re-tells both stories in Papuan Malay.

    Recorded on: 2011-10-08

    Derek, Gat, and Melsina have a casual conversation about family and land relationships among Moor-speaking people and their neighbors. They also talk about some ongoing activities, including Dave's recent arrival from the US.

    Recorded on: 2010-09-23