West Papua Diary

Arandai Language, The Language in Sebyar River

Arandai language

The Arandai language is spoken in Indonesia’s West Papua by The Arandai people. The people who live in Sebyar River in the Bintuni district of Teluk Bintuni Regency, along the southern coast of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, west and east of the Wariaga River, speak this language.

The Arandai Language

Arandai language speakers are around 176 people. Apart from the indigenous population, this village has other ethnic groups with a small number (Ternate, Javanese, and Bugis ethnicities). This language is also spoken in Kandarin, Kecap, Irira, Baru, and Manunggal Karya villages.

According to residents, to the west of Botonik Village, there is Wariagar Village, whose people speak the Kamberano language. Then to the north, in Kampung Baru, people also speak this language. Finally, this Arandai language is also spoken in the south in Manunggal Karya Village.

Based on the dialectic metric calculation results, which is the result of a comparison of the Arandai isolect with other languages around it, this isolect is proven to be a language.

The results of the calculation of the lexicon and phonology of the Arandai isolect with Wamesa, Kuri, and Sumuri languages show a difference of 95.5-100%

Ethnologue

At Ethnologue, it appears that treatment is inconsistent. The languages “Arandai” and “Kemberano,” the latter of which is also referred to as “Arandai,” are given ISO codes.

The expert said that they share 85% of their lexicon, making them dialects of the same language. However, the two Arandai dialects, Kemberano and Arandai, also known as Tomu and Dombano share 71% lexical similarity.

It has made them distinct languages. Weriagar (Kemberano) and Barau are the dialects of Kemberano (Weriagar).

Other possible names of Tomu (Arandai/Kemberano/Dombano) are Jaban (Yaban), Sebyar, and Sumuri. While other possible extra names of Weriagar (Arandai/Berau/Kemberano) referred to Kalitami.

According to Usher (2020), Dombano and Kemberano are distinct languages. People in the village of Tomu and its surroundings speak Dombano, while people in Kalitami and Wariaga speak Kemberano.

Critically Endangered Language

The diversity of regional languages is one of the characteristics of Indonesia. However, despite having hundreds of regional languages, it turns out that several languages are in critical condition or are highly endangered.

This was mentioned in research for mapping and protecting regional languages in Indonesia, carried out by the Language Development and Fostering Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture from 1991-2017.

Based on data from the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Arandai language is critically endangered.

UNESCO 2003 classified six language status levels based on language vitality assessment. Two of the levels are threatened and very threatened.

Threatened languages mean children no longer use their language at home as their mother tongue. Meanwhile, language is highly threatened because it is only used among older generations but not children.

The Arandai People

The Arandai or Yaban people are a tribe that inhabits the west of the Wariaga River and around the Sebyar (Timoforo) River basin in the southeastern part of the Bird’s Head of Papua, Teluk Bintuni Regency, West Papua.

This tribe has approximately 900 people living in Arandai, Kiambo, Yakora, Sakauni, Boare, and Tomu.

The District Of Arandai

Arandai is also the name of a district in Teluk Bintuni district, West Papua, Indonesia. Its boundaries are as follows: in the north, it is bordered by Meyado District, Tembuni District is in the east, then in the south, it is bordered by Bintuni Bay, and Tomu District is in the west.

The Arandai district comprises some villages or wards, including Arandai, Baru, Kecap, and Manunggal Karya, with the language too, Arandai language.

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