Languages of the Solomon Islands

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Language families of the (geographic) Solomon Islands
Red: North Bougainville
Blue: South Bougainville
Green: Central Solomons
Grey: Austronesian
Orange: Yele (out of area)

There are between sixty and seventy languages spoken in the Solomon Islands archipelago as opposed to the nation state of Solomon Islands, which covers a smller area.[1] Most of these are Austronesian languages, though the Central Solomon languages such as Lavukaleve constitute an independent family. Two other language families are represented on Bougainville, which is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, if not within the national boundaries. The lingua franca is Pijin, and the official language s English.

The status of the Reefs – Santa Cruz languages were once thought to be non-Austronesian, but further research found them to be divergent Austronesian languages.[2] The neighbouring languages of Vanikoro are also heavily relexified Austronesian languages.[3]

An indigenous sign language, Rennellese Sign Language, has gone extinct.


  1. ^ Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands the Past Four Thousand Years, Hugh Laracy (ed.), University of the South Pacific, 1989, ISBN 982-02-0027-X
  2. ^ Ross & Næss (2007)
  3. ^ François (2009)