Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar

Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar

Language: Moor (Mor) (ISO639-3:mhz), Yerisiam (ISO639-3:ire), Yaur (ISO639-3:jau), Umar (ISO639-3:gop)
Depositor: David Kamholz
Location: Indonesia
Deposit Id: 0223
Grant id: IGS0102
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit

This deposit documents four Austronesian languages of southern Cenderawasih Bay (Papua province, Indonesia): Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar. It was collected by David Kamholz, linguist and principal investigator, as part of his doctoral research into the history of the South Halmahera-West New Guinea (SHWNG) subgroup of Austronesian. The historical-comparative nature of this research led to particular emphasis on the lexicon, morphological paradigms, and capturing tonal contrasts. The recordings also include a significant quantity of storytelling, naturalistic conversation, other texts, and music.

Group represented

The Moor speakers represented in this collection are largely from the village of Mambor. The Yerisiam speakers are largely from the villages of Sima and Erega. The Yaur speakers are largely from the villages of Yaur, Napanyaur, and Sima. The Umar speakers are largely from 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

    The majority of bundles in this collection are audio and video recordings, covering:

    • 7.5 hours of storytelling
    • 5 hours of conversation
    • 53 minutes of video recording of group activities
    • 3.5 hours of music and singing
    • 34 minutes of Pear Story narratives
    • 14.5 minutes of Frog Story narratives
    • 15.5 hours of basic word list elicitation
    • 2 hours of phonological elicitation
    • 14.5 hours of grammatical elicitation

    There is also a 3.5-hour recording of a Yerisiam speaker pronouncing and explaining a dictionary that he created.

    In the collection, 13 hours of Moor recordings are transcribed; 3.5 hours of Yerisiam recordings are transcribed; 73 minutes of Yaur recordings are transcribed; and 2 minutes of Umar recordings are transcribed. Most transcriptions are translated into Indonesian; some are translated into English. Transcriptions were done with ELAN.

    Deposit history

    The data for this deposit was collected during the doctoral research of David Kamholz, the principal investigator. Field trips were undertaken in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. The 2008-2010 trips focused on documentation of Moor in the village of Mambor. During the 2010 trip, David and Harald Hammarström conducted a survey of southwest Cenderawasih Bay, including visits to the villages of Sima (language: Yerisiam), Yaur (language: Yaur), and Goni (language: Umar). The 2011 and 2013 trips focused on the documentation of these three languages, working with speakers in the city of Nabire.

    The 2010-2013 trips included visits to the Center for Endangered Language Documentation (CELD) in Manokwari. In 2010, Zakeus Manuaron went to CELD and transcribed Moor recordings with the assistance of Jinny Makabori. In 2011, Yonatan Yoweni went to CELD and transcribed Yerisiam and Yaur recordings with the assistance of Ruth Rumbiak. In 2013, Herman Marariampi went to CELD and transcribed Yerisiam recordings with the assistance of Yuli Rumwaropen.

    Other information

    Acknowledgement and citation

    Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge David Kamholz as the principal investigator and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by name.

    To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite the corpus in this way:

    Kamholz, David. 2018. Documentation of Moor, Yerisiam, Yaur, and Umar. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages

    Archive. URL: Accessed on [insert date here].


    Collection online
    Resources online and curated


    David Kamholz
    Affiliation: The Long Now Foundation

    Deposit Statistics

    Data from 2019 February 24 to 2019 February 24
    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