Daribi - Orientation

Identification. "Daribi" is the name for a people of Papua New Guinea who speak a single language with little or no dialect differentiation. Among themselves they make a distinction between the Daribi of Mount Karimui (Migaru or Korobo) and those of Mount Suaru. The Karimui Daribi distinguish between the kuai bidi, inhabitants of the volcanic plateau, and the buru axe bidi, limestone-country people.

Location. Daribi occupy the volcanic plateaus of Mount Karimui and Mount Suaru and the area of limestone ridges to the west of Karimui in the south of the Simbu (Chimbu) Province, adjacent to the Gulf and Southern Highlands Provinces at about 6° 30′ S and 144° 30′ to 144° 45′ E. Human habitation averages between 900 and 1,050 meters above sea level, with some subsistence activity at higher and lower elevations. Except where broken by gardening and second growth, the area is covered by tall, midmontane rain forest and is drained by the Tua River, a main tributary of the Purari. Most rainfall occurs during the season of the South Asian monsoon (November-April) ; the rest of the year is drier, and overnight temperatures in June are often quite chilly.

Demography. Although the earliest census figures are unreliable, it would be realistic to estimate an increase from Between 3,000 and 4,000 Daribi at the time of pacification (1961-1962) to more than 6,000 at present. This increase was largely the result of the suppression of malaria, which was endemic to the region before that time.

linguistic Affiliation. The Daribi language is classified as a member of the Teberan stock-level Family of languages, which includes only one other language, Polopa, spoken by a neighboring people to the southwest. The Teheran is a family of the Teberan-Pawaian Super-Stock, which includes as well the Pawaian language, a large number of whose speakers also reside at Karimui. Most Pawaian speakers at Karimui are bilingual with Daribi; however, very few Daribi speak Pawaian.

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