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Cheke Holo language

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(Redirected from ISO 639:mrn)
Cheke Holo
Native toCentral Solomon Islands
RegionSanta Isabel Island
Native speakers
(10,800 cited 1999)[1]
1,500 monolinguals[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mrn

Cheke Holo (also called Maringe or Mariŋe, A’ara, Holo, Kubonitu) is an Oceanic language spoken in the Solomon Islands. Its speakers live on Santa Isabel Island.



The phonology of Cheke Holo shows some peculiarities, shared with other Santa Isabel languages, like the aspirated stops and the voiceless sonorants. The five-vowel system instead conforms to the prototypical system of the Oceanic area (White, Kokhonigita & Pulomana 1988). Boswell (2018:16) has /x/ rather than /ɣʰ/.

Consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ̊ ɲ ŋ̊ ŋ
Stop plain p b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k ɡ ʔ
Fricative plain f v s z ɣ h
aspirated ɣʰ
Lateral l
Trill r
Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a



Verbs in Cheke Holo are marked neither for tense nor for person, although they can be prefixed with fa- (a causative marker) and they take enclitics. Among the possible clitics are the direct object pronouns, the completive aspect markers hi and hila, and the continuative aspect marker u (Boswell 2018).

Reduplication is commonly employed with verb roots to express iteration or intensification and as a valency changing device (from intransitive to transitive), although there are attested cases of adjective and (less so) noun reduplication (Boswell 2018). Different types of reduplications are possible in Cheke Holo:

  • Full reduplication
    • /vra/ 'jump up' > /vravra/ 'be quick to act'
  • Partial (or White's rule) reduplication
    • /bela/ 'wooden platform' > /beabela/ 'stack up firewood'
  • Syllable reduplication
    • /nolo/ 'to walk' > /nonolo/ 'go walking about'
    • /kmokhu/ 'stop' > /kmokmohu/ 'continue to cease'
    • /fruni/ 'cover' > /fufruni/ 'cover completely' (when the second consonant of a cluster is /r/, this is dropped in the reduplicated syllable)


  1. ^ a b Cheke Holo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon


  • Boswell, Fredrick Alvin (2018). A Grammar of Cheke Holo (Doctoral thesis). LOT Publications (Leiden University). hdl:1887/67082. ISBN 978-94-6093-301-1.
  • White, Geoffrey; Kokhonigita, Francis; Pulomana, Hugh (1988). Cheke Holo (Maringe/Hograno) Dictionary. Pacific Linguistics Series C - No. 97. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. doi:10.15144/pl-c97. hdl:1885/145429. ISBN 0-85883-368-9.
  • Palmer, Bill (2009). "Clause Order and Information Structure in Cheke Holo". Oceanic Linguistics. 48 (1): 213–249. doi:10.1353/ol.0.0038. hdl:1959.13/916448. S2CID 145092013.