Wape - Orientation

Identification. "Wape" is a designation given by Western-ers to the culturally similar Olo-speaking people on the inland side of the Torricelli Mountains of Papua New Guinea. The term is derived from metene wape, which means a human being in contrast to a spirit being.

Location. The Wape are located at 142°3′ E and 3°30′ S, in the northwestern section of Papua New Guinea in Sandaun (or West Sepik) Province on the leeward side of the Torricelli Mountains in the Lumi Local, Somoro, and West Wape census divisions. They live in fifty-five villages between 390 to about 840 meters above sea level. The terrain, broken and rugged, is covered with tropical rain forests drained by many streams and small rivers. Earth tremors are commonplace. The humidity is high, there is little change in temperatures throughout the year, and rainfall is generally heavy, with an intense wet season occurring between October and April.

Demography. The Wape number about 10,000 with approximately 19 people per square kilometer. There are no reliable early population estimates.

linguistic Affiliation. Olo, the Wape language, is one of the forty-seven languages of the Torricelli Phylum. These Languages are divided into thirteen families and seven stocks, with Olo classified as being in the Wapei family (23,378 speakers) and the Wapei-Palei Stock (31,770 speakers). It is a complex language with six vowels, seven diphthongs, twelve consonants, six classes of nouns, four classes of verbs, and two tenses. Tok Pisin, the lingua franca, is spoken by most of the men, many children, and some of the women. Rudimentary English is spoken by those attending grammar school, while high school students are more fluent.

Also read article about Wape from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: