Biak (wós Vyak / wós kovedi)

Biak is a member of the South Halmahera-West New Guinea group of Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages. It is spoken by about 70,000 people in eastern Indonesia, particularly on the islands of Biak, Supiori and Numbfor and smaller Biak islands in the Biak Numfor and Supiori regencies of Papua Province. Most Biak speakers also speak the local variety of Malay, and those under 30 are less likely to be fluent in Biak, even though they understand it.

Biak is also known as Biak-Numfor, Noefoor, Mafoor, Mefoor, Nufoor, Mafoorsch, Myfoorsch or Noefoorsch. Biak speakers call it wós Vyak ('Biak language') or wós kovedi ('our language'). Dialects include Biak-Numfoor, Betew, Kafdaron, Karon, Usba and Wardo.

Biak is written with the Latin alphabet, and there are a number of spelling systems. A Biak translation of the New Testament of the Bible was published in 1990, however it is considered difficult to read and is not widely used.

Biak alphabet and pronunciation

Biak alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Biak (Excel)

Sample text

Inja yafawar fawar bebesuru ya wer. Snonsnon ayediso Demianus Baransano. Yabeumur tahun samfur ri fik seser di wonem boi yarandak fawar bebesuru ine wer ma be o romawa ye befarkor ro Amerika iwa. Ro sup bondi iwa yafarem farfyar ine be i. Fawar ine rya dine. Myos Byaki randak kaku iwamyase bye keret oser. Keret byedi iso Rumbyak Rumu rum mgun sifur royo Msirn bo ya rum ine kawasa sya sibor siryur ro i. Inja ras ya ido binsar ya snori iso Inggumiboi. Inai byeskoya iya snori Binwani, iya snori Inandei, iya snori Inggumi kako.

Source: http://biak.clp.ox.ac.uk/myos-byak-biak.txt

Translation

So I tell the second story as well. My name is Demianus Baransano. I am seventy six years old but I will tell the second story as well for my young man who is studying in America. At foreign land there I send this story for him. This story goes like this. The Biak island from early times, there was one clan. Its clan was Rumbiak. At the small house they built on top of Msirn this house, many people live in it. Thus, one day an old woman called Inggumibo. Her three daughters, one called Binwan, another called Inande and another one also called Inggumi.

Source: http://biak.clp.ox.ac.uk/myos-byak-english.txt

Sample videos

Information about Biak | Numbers

Links

Information about the Biak language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biak_language
https://www2.let.vu.nl/oz/biak/index.php
http://biak.clp.ox.ac.uk/
https://research.vu.nl/en/publications/biak-description-of-an-austronesian-language-of-papua
https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/biak1248
http://www.language-archives.org/language/bhw
https://wikis.swarthmore.edu/ling073/Biak

Malayo-Polynesian languages

Alorese, Ambai, Ambel, Anuki, Balinese, Bambam, Banjarese, Batuley, Bengkulu, Biak, Bima, Bugis, Bushi, Chamorro, Duri, Fijian, Fordata, Gayo, Iban, Indonesian, Javanese, Kei, Kerinci, Komering, Lamaholot, Lampung, Ledo Kaili, Madurese, Makasarese, Malagasy, Malay, Mamasa, Mandar, Mandar, Mbula, Mentawai, Minangkabau, Mualang, Musi, Ngaju, Nias, Ogan, Palauan, Sasak, Selaru, Sumbawa, Sundanese, Toqabaqita, Toraja-Sa'dan, Ulumandaʼ, Urak Lawoi’, Wamesa, Yamdena

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page created: 12.06.24. Last modified: 12.06.24

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