Kómnzo [kɔ̯mndʒɔ] is a Morehead Upper-Maro language spoken by around 200 people in the village of Rouku and a couple of adjacent hamlets. Kómnzo is a member of the Tonda subgroup being placed at its eastern-most border. The current edition of Ethnologue classifies Kómnzo as one of four dialects of Wára (iso-code: tci). Further research is required to verify this classifiation. Like most of the Tonda languages, the language name Kómnzo is based on the word for "just, only". Thus, [kɔ̯mndʒɔ tsɔ̯kʷasi] "Kómnzo language" literally means "just words" or "only speech" and could easily be imagined as the answer to an outsider's question "What language do you speak?"
Kómnzo is a double marking language with an intricate verbal morphology. Verbs reference a number of grammatical categories including person, number (distinct slots for singular vs. non-singular and dual vs. non-dual), gender (masculine vs. feminine), TAM, deitic status (towards vs. away). The system is further complicated by a high degree of fusion and a preference for distributing the information for any one grammatical category across various slots on the verb. Thus, a straightforward pairing of meaning and morpheme is not possible. In fact, this is only possible after the unification a several morphemes. This raises interesting questions with regard to morphology.
The description of Kómnzo is currently the PhD project of Christian Döhler. Visit Christian's personal website for more information.
- Döhler, Christian. In prep. A grammar of Kómnzo. Doctoral Dissertation, Australian National University.
- Döhler, Christian. 2012. The Morehead Upper-Maro languages of Southern New Guinea. Presented at Conference on History, contact and classification of Papuan Languages at VU Amsterdam (Handout in .pdf)
- Döhler, Christian. 2011. Positional Verbs in Kómnzo. Presented at 'Work in Progress Seminar Series' at Leipzig MPI-EVA (Handout in .pdf)