Map of New Guinea


This website is under active development.

Please contact Simon Greenhill for more information.

Welcome to is a database of the Trans-New Guinea language family and friends. The Trans-New Guinea language family currently occupies most of the interior of New Guinea. This family is possibly the third largest in the world with 400 languages and is tentatively thought to have originated with root-crop agriculture around 10,000 years ago. However, vanishingly little is known about this family’s history.

This project aims to reveal the prehistory of New Guinea using the linguistic comparative method combined with novel computational phylogenetic methods.

This website is run by Simon Greenhill in the School of Culture, History and Language and College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.

Funding for this project was provided by an Australian Research Council «DECRA» Discovery Grant Discovering Trans-New Guinea: Revealing the prehistory of New Guinea (#DE120101954) to Simon Greenhill.


Mon 26 Oct 2015:
Now with more than 145,000 entries from over 1000 New Guinea languages
Mon 26 Oct 2015:
Just crossed the 1000 language barrier in the database
Sun 12 Oct 2014:
Added entries from Z'graggen's 1980 volume on Southern Adelbert languages:…
Fri 10 Oct 2014:
Added 210 Proto Trans-New Guinea reconstructions from Pawley (2005):…
Mon 07 Jul 2014:
Added ~9500 entries from Z'Graggen's Northern Adelbert languages volume:… #transnewguinea
Mon 16 Jun 2014:
note to self: need a better pagination system
Mon 16 Jun 2014:
Added 10,000 entries from Z'graggen's 1980 Mabuso languages volume:…
Thu 22 May 2014:
Added Dutton 1970 on Rigo languages to the database - 2300 new lexical items!…
Fri 09 May 2014:
Itchy! Words for Louse:
Mon 05 May 2014:
Current Status: 592 languages, 52,772 Entries