It is already an open secret that Papua’s land is rich in culture and language. There are at least 255 tribes in Papua, all of whom speak different languages. One of the Papua languages on the west side is the Hatam language.
Hatam is the native language of the Hatam Tribe. It is one of the sub-tribes that live in the Arfak Mountains. Aside from the Hatam Tribe, there is also the Meyakh Tribe, Sougb Tribe, and Moley Tribe. Then, these four sub-tribes formed one large tribe called the Arfak Tribe.
In fact, there are some interesting things about the language of Hatam that you need to know. Here are the lists!
1. The Language of Hatam is a Language Isolate
Basically, the language of Hatam is unique. Up until now, linguists have not found a single language that has similarities with the language of Hatam. Meanwhile, the ethnologist classifies the language of Hatam as a language isolate. That means it is not related to any language in the world.
While most of the language has relatives or families, the language of Hatam is not. It is not even related to other Arfak Tribes’ languages. Aside from the language of Hatam, other languages are isolated in the land of Papua. One of them is the Abinomn language.
2. The Language of Hatam Has Five Dialects
Aside from being a language isolate, the language of Hatam is also unique because it has five different dialects. Tinam, Miriei (Moillei), Adihup, Uran, and Moi are those five dialects. This is probably remarkable, considering there are not many Hatam speakers that still exist up until today.
3. The Language of Hatam Almost Extinct
Unfortunately, Hatam is one of the endangered West Papuan languages. Apart from having only a few speakers, for now, the Hatam children rarely master the language. This is because the language of Hatam is not taught in school. So, children have a little difficulty mastering the language.
However, if this continues, the language of Hatam will be threatened with extinction. Sadly, there is no Hatam language dictionary that you can buy. So, learning the language is indeed very difficult. Even school-age children in Hatam only passively master the language.
This is because they are taught to speak Papuan Malay from childhood, even in school. So, people only use the language of Hatam at home or in the realm of religion. However, the Hatam speakers are still larger than the Sougb speakers and the Biak speakers.
4. The Majority of Hatam Speakers are Watariri Village Resident
Then, you have to know that most Hatam speakers live in Watariri Village. It is located on the southern side of the Arfak Mountains. To be precise, in the Oransbari District. However, aside from Watariri Village, some Hatam speakers are also in other areas.
Besides Oransbari District, some Hatam speakers also live in Ransiki District.
5. The Language of Hatam is An Oral Language
According to research, most Hatam speakers cannot speak other languages. There are only a few of them who are bilingual. Only those who go to school can speak Papuan Malay too. Aside from that, there are very few documents that show the existence of this language.
This is because the language of Hatam is oral. Until now, this language has no writing or script system. Therefore, there is no teaching material about this native language of the Arfak Mountains.
So, those are the facts about the Hatam language that you need to know. Basically, Hatam is one of the unique languages originating from the land of Papua. Sadly, this language is in danger of extinction because fewer speakers can speak Hatam.