Dobu language

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Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionMilne Bay Province, tip of Cape Vogel
Native speakers
10,000 (1998)[1]
60% monolingual (1998?)[2]
L2 speakers: 100,000 (1987)[1]
Latin script (Dobuan alphabet)
Dobuan Braille
Language codes
ISO 639-3dob

Dobu or Dobuan is an Austronesian language spoken in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. It is a lingua franca for 100,000 people in D'Entrecasteaux Islands.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab. plain lab. plain lab.
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ ʔʷ
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
Fricative s
Nasal m n
Flap ɺ
Approximant j w
  • Sounds /p, t, k/ may also be aspirated in free variation as [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] in all environments.
  • The lateral flap /ɺ/ may fluctuate with an alveolar vibrant flap [ɾ] depending on the dialect of the speaker.
  • /j/ may also fluctuate with a fricative [ʝ] within vocabulary.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ ɔ
Open a
  • /a/ may be heard as [ʌ] in unstressed syllables.
  • /ɔ/ may be heard as slightly more centralized [ɔ̽] when following labialized consonants in unstressed positions.
  • /u/ may be heard as [ʊ] in unstressed syllables.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dobu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Dobu language at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. ^ Lithgow, Daphne (1977). Dobu phonemics. Phonologies of Five P.N.G. languages: Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics. pp. 73–96.