Documentation of Yaqay, an Anim language of Papua, Indonesia

Documentation of Yaqay, an Anim language of Papua, Indonesia

Language: Yaqay (ISO639-3:jaq)
Depositor: Bruno Olsson
Location: Indonesia
Deposit Id: 0552
Grant id: SG0534
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
The Yaqay language is spoken in around 30 villages, although in many communities it is under heavy pressure from Papuan Malay. Apart for some brief materials by the Dutch missionary Petrus Drabbe, Yaqay is undocumented. This project will provide initial audio-visual documentation of the language, including a small corpus of annotated and translated video recordings representing a diverse set of genres and interaction types, and a lexical database containing 1,500 entries. The materials will be useful for descriptive work on this almost unknown language, and crucial for comparative work on the Anim family, in addition to providing a stepping stone for further documentation and maintenance efforts by linguists and the Yaqay community.

Group represented
The Yaqay people was one of the last communities to be “pacified” under the Dutch colonial government, and although the most extraordinary components of pre-colonial Yaqay life—such as headhunting and cannibalism—now belong to the distant past, many traditional ways still remain, although under competition from Indonesian influences and institutions.

Language information
Yaqay is a Papuan language spoken by perhaps ten thousand people in the swampy lowlands north of the Mappi river in Papua, Indonesia. Yaqay is one of the westernmost languages of the Anim family, whose other members are spread out across the Trans-Fly area of Southern New Guinea. Some of the grammatical features of the Anim languages, such as the extremely intricate prefixal morphology, and the pervasive system of four grammatical genders, make these languages unusual in the New Guinean context. There are large dialectal differences between the villages, and some of the Yaqay varieties may turn out to be distinct languages once we learn more about them.

Special characteristics

Deposit contents
The aims of the project include a 6-hour corpus of annotated video recordings, and a 1,500-entry lexical database.

Deposit history

Other information

Acknowledgement and citation

Please cite the corpus as:

Olsson, Bruno. [insert Year]. Documentation of Yaqay, an Anim language of Papua, Indonesia. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: [insert URL of the deposit page]. Accessed on [insert date].


Resources yet to be deposited


Bruno Olsson
Affiliation: Australian National University

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Data from 2020 November 29 to 2020 November 29
Deposit hits:1
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