South Efate language

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South Efate
Fate, Erakor
Native to Northeast Vanuatu
Region Efate Island
Native speakers
6,000  (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 erk
Glottolog sout2856[2]

The South Efate language is a Nuclear Southern Oceanic language of the Malayo-Polynesian language family, spoken on the island of Efate in central Vanuatu. As of 2005, there are approximately 6,000 speakers who live in coastal villages from Pango to Eton. The language's grammar has been described by Nick Thieberger, who is working on a book of stories and dictionary of the language.[3] The field recordings have been archived with Paradisec. A summary of the collection of material in South Efate can be found here. A listing of all material available via the Open Language Archives Community for South Efate can be found here.

South Efate is closely related to Nguna and to Lelepa. Based on shared features with southern Vanuatu languages (including echo–subject marking, and the free and preposed 1st-singular-possessive morphemes), Lynch (2001) suggests it could form part of a southern Vanuatu subgroup which includes New Caledonia.


  1. ^ South Efate at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "South Efate". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ South Efate — English dictionary


  • Anon. 1868. Nalag nig Efat. Trans. D. Morrison. Sydney: Mason, Firt, nigar asler (Mason, Firth and Co).
  • Anon. 1892. Tusi nalag Efate Niu Ebrites. Sydney: F. Cunninghame and Co.
  • Anon. 1979. Natus nalag (213 pp).
  • Bible. 1864. Nadus iskei nig Fat. Aneityum: Mission Press.
  • Bible. 1866. Nafsanwi nig Iesu Krist nag Mark. Trans. D. Morrison. Sydney: Sheriff and Downing.
  • Bible. 1874. Kenesis natus a bei nag Moses ki mtir i. Trans. Cosh, J. Sydney: British and Foreign Bible Society.
  • Bible. 1875? Nafisan nafousien. Sydney: F. Cunninghame and Co.
  • Bible. 1883. The Gospel according to Luke. Trans. Macdonald, D.D. Melbourne: M.L. Hutchinson.
  • Bible. 1885. The Gospel according to John, Tus Nanrognrogona Uia ni Iesu Kristo nag Ioane i mitiria. Trans. Mackenzie, J., Macdonald, D.D. Sydney: F. Cunninghame and Co.
  • Bible. 1919. Natus bei ni nafisan ni Efate. Sydney: Epworth Press.
  • Bible. 1919. Tusi tab fao (New Testament). Trans. Mackenzie, J., Macdonald, D.D. Melbourne: British and Foreign Bible Society.
  • Bible. 1923. Scripture History. Sydney: Epworth Printing and Publishing House.
  • Bible. 1923. Nafakoron ni aliat. Erakor Efate, New Hebrides. Nouméa: Imprimerie A.-L. Laubreaux.
  • Bible. n.d. Nawisien nig Nagmer Apostol. Sydney: F. Cunninghame and Co.
  • Clark, Ross. 1973. Transitivity and case in eastern Oceanic languages. Oceanic Linguistics 12(1–2). 559–606.
  • ––––– 1978. The New Hebridean outliers. In Wurm, S.A. and L.Carrington, (eds.), Second International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics: proceedings. Fascicle 2: eastern Austronesian. (Pacific Linguistics Series) Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University. 911–928.
  • ––––– 1982. “Necessary” and “unnecessary” borrowing. In Halim, A. (ed.), Papers from the Third International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. Vol.3: Accent on variety. C 76 ed. (Pacific Linguistics Series): Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University. 137–143.
  • ––––– 1985. The Efate dialects. Te Reo 28.:3–35.
  • ––––– 1996. Linguistic consequences of the Kuwae eruption. In J. M. Davidson, G. Irwin, B. F. Leach, A. Pawley and D. Brown (eds.), Oceanic culture history: essays in honour of Roger Green. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology Special Publication. 275–285.
  • ––––– n.d. The Efate-Tongoa dialects (Ms).
  • Codrington, Robert Henry (R. H.). 1885. The Melanesian Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Lynch, John. 2000. South Efate phonological history. Oceanic Linguistics 39(2):320–338.
  • ––––– 2001. The linguistic history of Southern Vanuatu. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.
  • ––––– 2004. The Efate-Erromango Problem in Vanuatu Subgrouping. Oceanic Linguistics 43(2):311–338.
  • Thieberger, Nicholas 2006a. A Grammar of South Efate: An Oceanic Language of Vanuatu Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, No. 33. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • ––––– 2006b. The benefactive construction in South Efate. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 45, no. 2, 297-310.
  • ––––– 2007. The demise of serial verbs in South Efate. Diana Eades, John Lynch and Jeff Siegel (eds.), Language Description, History and Development: Linguistic Indulgence in Memory of Terry Crowley. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 237-251.
  • ––––– 2011a. Natrauswen nig Efat. Melbourne: The author. ISBN 978-1-921775-50-5.
  • ––––– 2011b. A dictionary of South Efate. Melbourne: The author. ISBN 978-1-921775-51-2.
  • ––––– 2012. Mood and Transitivity in South Efate. Oceanic Linguistics. Volume 51, no. 2, 387-401.
  • Thieberger, Nicholas and Chris Ballard. 2008. Daniel Macdonald and the 'compromise literary dialect' in Efate, central Vanuatu. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 47, no.2: 365-382

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