Unua language

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Native toVanuatu
Native speakers
750 (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3onu

Unua, or Onua, is an Oceanic language spoken in south-east Malekula, Vanuatu. It is said to be a dialect of the same language, Unua-Pangkumu, as Rerep (Pangkumu).[2]


The following table lists the contrastive consonant sounds of Unua. There are 16 consonant phonemes for younger Unua speakers and an additional three contrastive velarized labial consonants for older speakers, shown below in parentheses.

Bilabial Coronal Dorsal
plain labial
Nasal m n
Plosive voiceless p () t k
prenasal ᵐb (ᵐbʷ) ⁿd ᵑɡ
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative β (βʷ) s ɣ
Rhotic/Trill ᵐʙ ɾ, r
Approximant l

The following table lists the contrastive vowel sounds of Unua. Younger speakers have five vowel phonemes and older speakers have an additional three, shown in parentheses.

Front Central Back
High i (ʉ) u
Mid e (ø) (ɵ) o
Low a


Unua has SVO ordering.


  1. ^ Unua at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Pearce, Elizabeth (2015). A Grammar of Unua. Boston/Berlin/Munich: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 978-1-61451-765-8.