There are over 800 languages in Papua New Guinea, perhaps as many as 850, depending on who is counting and how they count. And many of the languages have “dialects,” the soldiers who make up the language army. There may even be several languages (and certainly dialects) in one geographical area.
People of one language group are often comprised of clans and subclans, groups that trace their descents to common ancestors. Each clan will have one or more leaders responsible for interacting with outsiders or forming alliances with other clans and groups. Some clans are large and some are quite small.
Clans have certain geographical boundaries and there is often fighting, or at least hard feelings, if the boundaries are not respected. There are usually stories, passed down through legend and tradition that tell where and when the boundaries were established. They may be marked by rivers, creeks, ravines, swamps, ridges, or special trees.