Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Claire Bowern


Wamesa [wam] is an endangered Austronesian language spoken in the south-eastern Bird’s Head of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of West Papua. is dissertation provides a description and formal analysis of the phonology and morphology of the Windesi dialect based on the author’s fieldwork with speakers of the language. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the language, its speakers, and the cultural, geographic, and linguistic context in which Wamesa is spoken. It also provides background on the fieldwork which forms the basis of this dissertation and the resulting corpus. Chapter 2 describes the phonology of Wamesa, including its phoneme inventory, phonotactics, and productive phonological processes, with phonetic detail. e second half of the chapter gives an account of the phonological adaptation of loan words into Wamesa. Chapter 3 gives a formal analysis of stress assignment in the language based in Optimality eory. Chapter 4 describes the Wamesa clitics and affixes, and Chapter 5 gives an account of the three major word classes, nouns, verbs, and adjectives, as well as modes of spatial expression and a selection of other minor word classes. Chapter 6 gives a formal synchronic analysis of the infixation of verbal subject agreement affixes in Wamesa, followed by a diachronic account of how the paern might have arisen from incremental improvements in speech production and perception.

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