Chuukese language

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Native toFederated States of Micronesia
Native speakers
51,330 (2000 census)[1]
Latin script
Official status
Official language in
 Federated States of Micronesia
Language codes
ISO 639-2chk
ISO 639-3chk
Chuukese translation of the Book of Mormon

Chuukese /ˈkz/, also rendered Trukese /trʌˈkz/,[2] is a Chuukic language of the Austronesian language family spoken primarily on the islands of Chuuk in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. There are communities of speakers on Pohnpei, Guam, and the Hawaiian Islands as well. Estimates show that there are about 45,900 speakers in Micronesia.[1]


Chuukese has the unusual feature of permitting word-initial geminate (double) consonants. The common ancestor of Western Micronesian languages is believed to have had this feature, but most of its modern descendants have lost it.[3]

Truk and Chuuk are a difference in orthography, and both older tr and current ch transcribe the sound [ʈʂ].

Chuukese consonants
Labial Alveolar Postalveolar/
plain lab.
Nasal plain m n ŋ
tense mːʷ ŋː
Stop/Affricate p t ʈʂ k
Fricative plain f s
Trill r
Approximant w l j

Consonants are doubled in Chuuk when they have a voiceless sound. Some consonant combinations are frequently denasalized between vowels when doubled.[4][5]

Chuukese vowels
Front Central Back
High i ɯ u
Mid ɛ ʌ o
Low æ a ɔ

/ɯ/ can be heard as either back [ɯ] or central [ɨ].


  1. ^ a b Chuukese at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ "Reflexes of initial gemination in Western Micronesian languages" (PDF). University of California, Los Angeles. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 9, 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2005.
  4. ^ Goodenough, Sugita, Ward H., Hiroshi (1990). Trukese-English Dictionary Pwpwuken Tettenin Fóós: Chuuk-Ingenes.
  5. ^ Yunick, Stanley (2000). Linguistics, TESL, and language planning in Micronesia. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, Volume 30, Number 1: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. pp. 194–195.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)

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