Hiw language

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Native to Vanuatu
Region Hiw
Native speakers
280 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hiw
Glottolog hiww1237[2]

Hiw (sometimes spelled Hiu) is an Oceanic language spoken on the island of Hiw, in the Torres Islands of Vanuatu.[3]

It is distinct from Lo-Toga, the other language of the Torres group.

The language[edit]

Hiw has 280 speakers, and is considered endangered.[4][5]



Hiw has 9 phonemic vowels. These are all short monophthongs /i ɪ e ɵ ə a ʉ o ɔ/.[6]


Hiw has 14 consonants.[6]

Hiw consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar
Plosive p t k
Nasal m n ŋ ŋʷ
Fricative β s ɣ
Glide j w

All plosives are voiceless. Hiw is the only Austronesian language whose consonant inventory includes a prestopped velar lateral approximant /ɡ͡ʟ/; this complex segment is Hiw's only liquid.[7]


  1. ^ François (2012):88).
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hiw". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ François (2005:444)
  4. ^ François (2012):100).
  5. ^ UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger: Hiw.
  6. ^ a b François (2010a:396)
  7. ^ François (2010a)


External links[edit]