Fieldwork and languages

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I have collected firsthand data on several languages of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, which were little documented until recently. All these languages are Austronesian, more precisely Oceanic.

For each language, the tables below indicate its geographical location; the name which I use and recommend – based on the speakers’ preferences – as well as alternate names under which it has been called in earlier publications. I propose an estimate of their current number of speakers. Finally, I give relevant links to further information, and to online texts with their translation. The last column links to all my audio archives from the field (see also this selection of stories).

I am currently working on the systematic description of some of these languages. Part of this research has already been published.

 

Languages of Vanuatu

The numbers of speakers proposed below were revised in October 2010. I recalculated the figures by extrapolating them from the recently published demographic figures given, island by island, by the 2009 Vanuatu census [link to VNSO’s site; direct link ]. The 2009 total population of Torres & Banks islands ("TorBa" province) was 9359 individuals. This shows a demographic increase of 20.7 percent from the last 1999 census, which had a figure of 7757.

Note: This chart cites only those languages of Vanuatu on which I have personally collected data on the field. For a full list of the 138 languages spoken in Vanuatu, see our map, and the article that comes with it.

Island
Language name
Abbr. I use
Alternate names
ISO code
Nb speakers
Info links
Text links
Audio archives
Îles Torres
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hiw
Hiw
HIW
Hiu
280  
glot · 2
 
1 · 2
Lo, Toga
Lo-Toga
LTG
Toga
580  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
Îles Banks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ureparapara
Lehali
LHI
Teqel
200  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
 
Löyöp
LYP
Lehalurup
240  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
Motalava
Mwotlap
MTP
Motlav
2100  
glot · Lex · 1 · 2
1 · 2 · 3
1 · 2
 
Volow
VLW
Valuwa
1  
glot · 1
 
Vanua Lava
Lemerig
LMG
Sasar
2  
glot · 1
 
Vera’a
VRA
Vatrata
500  
glot · 1 · 2
 
Vurës
VRS
Vureas, Mosina
2000  
glot · 1 · 2
 
1 · 2
 
Mwesen
MSN
Mosina
10  
glot · 1
1 · 2
Mota
Mota
MTA
 
750  
glot · 1
Gaua
Nume
NUM
Tarasag
700  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
 
Dorig
DRG
Wetamut
300  
glot · 1
1 · 2
 
Koro
KRO
 
250  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
 
Olrat
OLR
 
3  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
 
Lakon
LKN
Lakona, Vure
800  
glot · 1 · 2
 
1 · 2
Merelava
Mwerlap
MRL
Merlav
1100  
glot · 1
 
1 · 2
Sud Santo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Araki
Araki
ARK
 
8  
glot · 1 · 2 · 3
1 · 2
1 · 2
 
Languages of the Solomons

I have revised the figures for numbers of speakers based on my May 2012 survey, and also taking into account the 2009 Solomon Islands census.

Note: This chart cites only those languages of the Solomon Islands on which I have personally collected data on the field. For a full list of the 74 languages spoken in the Solomons, see the Ethnologue’s page.

Island
Language name
Abbr. I use
Alternate names
ISO code
Nb speakers
Info links
Corpora
Temotu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vanikoro
Teanu
TEA
Puma, Buma
800  
glot · 1
1 · 2
 
Lovono
LVN
Vano, Lavana, Vanikolo
4  
glot · 1
1 · 2
 
Tanema
TNM
Tetawo
1  
glot · 1
1 · 2
 
Tikopia
TKP
Tikopien
1800
glot · 1
1 · 2