Lemerig language

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Native toVanuatu
RegionVanua Lava
Native speakers
2 (2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lrz
One of the two remaining speakers of Lemerig, recorded in Vanuatu.

Lemerig (sometimes also called Pak, Päk, or Sasar) is an Oceanic language spoken on Vanua Lava, in Vanuatu.

Lemerig is no longer actively spoken. The 2 remaining speakers live on the northern coast of the island.[2] The language has receded in favour of its neighbours Mwotlap and Vera'a.[1]


Lemerig has 11 phonemic vowels. These are all short monophthongs /i ɪ ɛ æ a œ ø ɒ̝ ɔ ʊ u/.[3]

Lemerig vowels
Front Back
plain round
Close i   u
Near-close ɪ ø ʊ
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ
Near-open æ   ɒ̝
Open a


The system of personal pronouns in Lemerig contrasts clusivity, and distinguishes four numbers (singular, dual, trial, plural).[4]

Spatial reference in Lemerig is based on a system of geocentric (absolute) directionals, which is in part typical of Oceanic languages, in part innovative.[5]



  • François, Alexandre (2011). "Social ecology and language history in the northern Vanuatu linkage: A tale of divergence and convergence" (PDF). Journal of Historical Linguistics. 1 (2): 175–246. doi:10.1075/jhl.1.2.03fra. hdl:1885/29283..
  • —— (2012). "The dynamics of linguistic diversity: Egalitarian multilingualism and power imbalance among northern Vanuatu languages" (PDF). International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 2012 (214): 85–110. doi:10.1515/ijsl-2012-0022. S2CID 145208588.
  • —— (2015). "The ins and outs of up and down: Disentangling the nine geocentric space systems of Torres and Banks languages" (PDF). In Alexandre François; Sébastien Lacrampe; Michael Franjieh; Stefan Schnell (eds.). The languages of Vanuatu: Unity and diversity. Studies in the Languages of Island Melanesia. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics. pp. 137–195. ISBN 978-1-922185-23-5.
  • —— (2016). "The historical morphology of personal pronouns in northern Vanuatu" (PDF). In Pozdniakov, Konstantin (ed.). Comparatisme et reconstruction : tendances actuelles. Faits de Langues. 47. Bern: Peter Lang. pp. 25–60..
  • François, Alexandre & Taitus Sërortēlsöm. 2006. Nvāv ‘ām 'a Lēmērig — Storian long lanwis blong Lemerig (Vanua Lava, Banks, Vanuatu). Collection of stories from the oral tradition, monolingual in Lemerig. Paris.

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