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.

Related languages[edit]

Spoken mostly by the Carolinian people, Carolinian is the most closely related dialect to 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, 5,700 (as of 2008).[citation needed]
  • Carolinian is known as Refaluwasch by native speakers.
  • It has 31 characters in its alphabet.


  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).