Taiap language

Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionGapun village (East Sepik Province)
Native speakers
75 (2007)[1]
  • Taiap
Language codes
ISO 639-3gpn

Taiap (or Tayap, also called Gapun, after the name of the village in which it is spoken) is an endangered language isolate spoken by around a hundred people in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. It is being replaced by the national language and lingua franca Tok Pisin.

The first European to come across Taiap was a German missionary in 1938. The language was not studied by linguists until the 1970s because of the inaccessibility of the region.

Taiap has a Pandanus language, spoken when harvesting karuka.[3]


Although Donald Laycock (1973) placed Taiap in his Sepik Ramu language family, its structure and vocabulary would be unique for that family, and Ross (2005) found no evidence that it is related to any language of New Guinea. The current extent of Taiap is nearly coincident with what had been an offshore island 6,000 years ago, consistent with the idea that Taiap is a language isolate.

Søren Wichmann (2013)[4] and Glottolog classify Taiap as a language isolate. Usher (2018) includes it in the Torricelli family.[5]


  1. ^ Taiap at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Taiap". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Pawley, Andrew (1992). "Kalam Pandanus Language: An Old New Guinea Experiment in Language Engineering". In Dutton, Tom E.; Ross, Malcolm; Tryon, Darrell (eds.). The Language Game: Papers in Memory of Donald C. Laycock. Pacific Linguistics Series C. 110. Memory of Donald C. Laycock. Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. pp. 313–334. ISBN 08588334006 Check |isbn= value: length (help). ISSN 0078-7558. OCLC 222981840.
  4. ^ Wichmann, Søren. 2013. A classification of Papuan languages. In: Hammarström, Harald and Wilco van den Heuvel (eds.), History, contact and classification of Papuan languages (Language and Linguistics in Melanesia, Special Issue 2012), 313-386. Port Moresby: Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea.
  5. ^ [1]