Online dictionaries


A dictionary of Teanu  (Vanikoro, Solomon islands)


Welcome to the 2020 online version of my Teanu – English dictionary!

Teanu (a.k.a. Puma or Buma) is an Oceanic language spoken on the island of Vanikoro, in the province of Temotu, on the eastern tip of the Solomon Islands. With about 800 speakers, it is the largest language spoken on the island: it has now replaced the two other languages Lovono and Tanema, which are only remembered by a handful of elders.

I am proposing here the first dictionary ever published of Teanu – including lexical data from the highly endangered languages Lovono and Tanema.

My work on Vanikoro languages

During my two field trips to Vanikoro, I  spent some time with the people of different villages (Paeu, Lovoko, Temwo, Lale). Thanks to their teaching, I learned to speak the essentials of Teanu – helped by my homemade field questionnaire, and also by my background knowledge of other Oceanic languages. We began by collecting geographic and toponymic information on the island (hence my maps), and exchanging stories.

I made 93 sound recordings, all archived online; these include 38 narratives in Teanu, 4 in Lovono, 3 in Tanema, 2 in Tikopia – among which   nine stories now have an online transcription and translation. One of my favourite traditional stories was the origin myth of the Tamate creatures, the dancing spirits of Vanikoro. Check it out!

After each field trip, I would archive my recordings, type my transcriptions, build up my electronic text corpus. In 2012, I created a collection of traditional narratives in the three languages of Vanikoro, of which I printed several copies for the local schools, to promote vernacular literacy:

Over the years, I have given some conference presentations on the languages of Vanikoro:

This article discusses the strong differences and similarities I found between the three languages of Vanikoro:

I am currently working at a reference grammar of Teanu: this is one of my ongoing projects.

Finally, based on my field notes and text corpora, I have written an online dictionary of Teanu, including lexical data from Lovono and Tanema. Check it out!