The Approach to the Problem

Part of the Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde book series (VKIV)


“Our talk is straight; theirs has an angle bent.” So the people of the lower Grand Valley of the Baliem, central Netherlands New Guinea, refer to their neighbors’ dialects and their own. The figure is unconsciously apt, for a comparison of the sound systems of those dialects reveals a non-congruity, a skew of pattern, by which some not greatly dissimilar phonetic inventories are arranged into quite different phonemic structures. The original objectives of this study, a description and an alphabetic symbolization of the exceptionally aberrant structure from that lower Grand Valley area, have proved to be reached most meaningfully along the route of comparison with other dialects, so that that one pattern of sound contrasts is seen not only in terms of its inner configuration but also in the perspective of the disparate patterns of the parent and most other daughter dialects, and that the orthography facilitates cross-dialect reference.


Valuable Study Check List Valley Area Alphabetic Symbolization Literacy Campaign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    In the Baliem Grand Valley the word [dam], with an initial implosive, or [lani], is a clan name, but in western valleys it is used as a name for the language spoken there. The Monis, members of the next tribe to the west, pronounce this name [ndam], with a prenasallzed stop. All these forms of the name, as well as other clan names like Pesegem and Morip and probably Oeringoep, occur in the literature, but the name Dani is now applied by mission and government to any of the peoples speaking languages of this family.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    That check list can be found compiled with others in the appendix to Volume II of C. C. P. M. le Roux, Bergpapoeas van Nieuw Guinea en hun Woongebied (leiden, 1950).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    P. Wirz, Anthropologische und ethnologische Ergebnisse der Central Neu Guinea Expedition 1921–22 (Leiden, 1924).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. C. F. M. le Roux, loc. cit.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The general report of that expedition contains no linguistic data, but includes a complete bibliography of other reports: Richard Archbold, A. L. Rand and L. J. Brass, Results of the Archbold Expeditions, No, 41: Summary of the 1938–1939 Hew Guinea Expedition (New York, 1942). pp. 286–88. The only vocabulary list published from that expedition is in le Roux, loc. cit.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Margaret Hastings, “A WAC in Shangri La,” Reader’s Digest, November, 1945, pp. 1 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Following that entrance by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, men of the Unevangelized Fields Mission occupied the upper Hablifoeri area and later the Wodo [wolo] valley, where Ross Bartel has made valuable studies of the language. In cooperation with these two missions the Australian Baptist mission entered the North Baliem valley in 1956; there Mrs, Sheila Draper has done significant linguistic work. Christian and Missionary Alliance worker Gordon Larson has made very valuable studies of Ilaga Dani.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    vocabulary checks of the Swadesh hundred item list have been widely made. Some samples from that material are included in Appendix B.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1961

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