As we know, Papua is the area with the most regional languages. This is because Papua consists of various tribes. Regarding the diversity of local languages in the land of Papua, the US language mission and research institute, the Summer Institute of Linguistic International (SIL).
Noted that a minimum of 312 indigenous peoples speak their own languages. One of the languages is Awe. To know the Awe language in detail. Read this article to the end.
The Awe Language
The people speak the Awe language (Maweyo, Kaburi) in Benawa II Village, North Kokoda District, South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province.
The Speakers of Awe language are approximately 395 people. All age groups still use this language. Apart from Benawa II Village, this language is also spoken in Benawa I, Kabareme, and Sumano Villages.
According to residents’ testimony, other languages are spoken around Kampung Benawa II. To the east of Kampung Benawa II, there is Kampung Udagaga, whose people speak the Eme language. Then the west, there is Kampung Puragi, whose people are ethnic Iwaro, Iwar, Nerage, and Augama. They speak the Iwaro language.
Meanwhile, to the north is Kampung Benawa I, whose people speak the Awe language (Maweyo, Kaburi). Finally, to the south is Kampung Negeri Besar, whose people speak the Eme language.
The people who speak the Awe language (Maweyo, Kaburi) and who live in Kampung Benawa II are of the Mareno ethnicity or tribe (Marane, Kosiriago). The name Kosiriago was used during the Hongi war.
This name was later changed to Marane by the government. The people in Benawa II are a tribe that has the families Aume, Kabie, Ohame, Yare, Oraite, More, Modupe, and Bodie.
Based on the dialectic metric calculation results, which is the result of a comparison of the Awe isolect with the Maybrat language around it, it shows a different language with 98% lexical and phonological differences.
The Awe tribe is one of the indigenous ethnic groups in the West Papua Province’s South Sorong Regency. There are four clans in the Awe tribe: Awaje, Aume, Budori, and Kumude.
Why does Papua Have Various Languages?
The mountainous region of Papua, which used to be isolated by vast wilderness areas, has developed many regional languages and made Papua one of the areas with the most mother tongue in Indonesia.
In several parts of Papua, there are different tribes and clans, they also speak a different languages. This diversity of indigenous peoples belongs not only to West Papua, but to the land of Papua as a whole.
Papua is Rich in Language Diversity
Regional languages in Papua have developed because there are limitations to community development due to the geographical conditions of the region. The number of languages that vary shows how rich our country is.
Efforts to Preserve Regional Languages in Indonesia
Regional language data collection has been started since 1991. Only now, the Language Development and Fostering Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture has identified many regional languages.
The number of local languages in Indonesia continues to grow, wherein 2019, there were 668 languages, then in 2020, there were 718 languages. Of course, in the following years, there may be an increase.
For regional languages to continue to be sustainable, awareness is needed for the indigenous Indonesian people to be proud and respect the local language as their mother tongue.
One of the efforts to support local native languages is not extinct is introducing regional language lessons, particularly the Awe language, which are usually included in additional subject matter or local content in schools.