Carolinian language

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Native to Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
Region Saipan, Anatahan, and Agrihan islands, Carolines.
Native speakers
2,600  (2000)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Northern Mariana Islands
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cal
Glottolog caro1242[2]

Carolinian is an Austronesian language spoken in the Northern Mariana Islands, where it is an official language along with English and Chamorro.


Spoken mostly by the Carolinian people, Carolinian is most closely related to dialects in the Satawalese, Woleaian, and Puluwatese languages.[3]:ix Carolinian has 95% lexical similarity with Satawalese, 88% with Woleaian and Puluwatese; 81% with Mortlockese; 78% with Chuukese, 74% with Ulithian. A 1990 census estimated the number of speakers at about 3,000, currently 5,700. Carolinian is known as Refaluwasch by native speakers. It has 31 characters in its alphabet.

Woleaian-Lamotrekese, Satawalese, Polowat-Pulusuk.


  1. ^ Carolinian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Carolinian". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Ellis, S. James (December 2012). "Saipan Carolinian, One Chuukic Language Blended From Many" (PDF).