Maisin - Orientation

Identification. Maisin-speaking people live in Papua New Guinea. All but the remote Kosirau people refer to themselves as Maisin. Westerners called these groups Kosirava and Maisina in early reports.

Location. Maisin speakers occupy three areas in Tufi Subdistrict of Oro Province in Papua New Guinea. The Kosirau live in small isolated settlements within the vast swamps of the Musa River basin. A second group of Maisin speakers shares the village of Uwe with Korafe speakers on the northeast coast of Cape Nelson. The largest portion of the population lives in eight villages along the southern shores of Collingwood Bay. Behind the coastal villages stretches a vast area of unpopulated forest, swamp, and mountains. The Region is very isolated from the rest of Papua New Guinea. There are no roads. The only access is by boat or small plane into grass airstrips. There are two distinct seasons. The Northwest monsoons are accompanied by heavy rainfall between November and April. Around May, the winds switch to the southwest and the weather becomes dry, cooler, and breezy.

Demography. The 1980 National Census suggested a total Maisin population around 2,000. Of that number, approximately 1,400 lived in the rural villages while the rest had migrated to the cities. The population density along the coast was about 10 persons per square kilometer.

linguistic Affiliation. There are two dialects: Maisin and Kosirava. Maisin attracted scholarly attention from an early date as a rare example of a language that combines grammatical features from both Austronesian and Non-Austronesian sources; thus Maisin has been variously classed as "mixed" or as "Non-Austronesian."

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