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.

List of the Solomon Islands[edit]

Language Code Speakers Region Family
Amba utp 593 Utupua Temotu
Anuta aud 267 Polynesian
'Are'are language alu 17,800
Arosi aia 6,750
Asubuo aua 10 Utupua Temotu
Äiwoo nfl 8,400 Reef Islands Temotu
Babatana baa 5,600
Baeggu bvd 5,900
Baelelea language bvc 8,800
Bauro language bxa 3,420
Bilua language blb 8,740 Papuan
Birao brr 5,900
Blablanga language blp 1,772
Bughotu language bgt 4,048
Cheke Holo language mrn 10,840
Dori'o language dor 2,406
Dororo drr 0
Duke nke 2,312
Fagani language faf 902
Fataleka language far 6,703
Gao gga 1,215
Gela nlg 11,876
Ghanongga language ghn 2,508
Ghari language gri 12,119
Gilbertese language gil 1,230 Gizo, Choiseul Micronesian
Gula'alaa language gmb 1,568
Guliguli language gli 0
Hoava language hoa 459
Kahua language agw 5,170
Kazukuru language kzk 0
Kokota language kkk 530
Kusaghe language ksg 2,395
Kwaio language kwd 13,249
Kwara'ae language kwf 32,433
Laghu lgb 15
Lau llu 16,937
Lavukaleve lvk 1,783 Papuan
Lengo lgr 13,752
Longgu language lgu 1,894
Lovono vnk 4 Vanikoro Temotu
Luangiua ojv 2,367 Ontong Java Polynesian
Lungga language lga 2,767
Malango language mln 4,135
Marovo language mvo 8,094
Mono mte 3,337
Nanggu language ngr 210 Nendö Temotu
Natügu language ntu 4,280 Nendö Temotu
Nalögo language nlz 1,620 Nendö Temotu
Oroha language ora 38
Owa language stn 3,069
Pijin pis 24,390 language 1
307,000 language 2
Rennellese language mnv 3,191 Polynesian
Sign Language Rennell rsi 1
Ririo language rri 79
Roviana language rug 9,871
Sa'a language apb 11,519
Savosavo language svs 2,415 Savo Papuan
Sikaiana sky 731 Polynesian
Simbo sbb 2,701
Talise language tlr 12,525
Tanema tnx 1 Vanikoro Temotu
Tanimbili language tbe 15 Utupua Temotu
Teanu tkw 800 Vanikoro Temotu
Tikopia tkp 3,324 Tikopia, Vanikoro Polynesian
Toqabaqita mlu 12,572
Touo language tqu 1,874 Papuan
Ughele language uge 1,202
Vaeakau-Taumako language piv 1,142 Polynesian
Vaghua language tva 1,960
Vangunu mpr 907
Varisi language vrs 5,161
Wala lgl 6,978
Zabana language kji 3,355
Zazao language jaj 10


  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)