Teanu language

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Native toSolomon Islands
RegionVanikoro, Eastern Solomons
Native speakers
800 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tkw
Coordinates: 11°39′S 166°54′E / 11.650°S 166.900°E / -11.650; 166.900

Teanu (or Puma, Buma) is the main language spoken on the island of Vanikoro, in the easternmost province of the Solomon Islands.


Map of Vanikoro I., showing the historical territories of the three tribes of Lovono, Tanema and Teanu.[3]

The language receives its name from Teanu, the island located northeast of the Vanikoro island group. The same language has also been known in the literature as Puma (or wrongly Buma), after the main village of Teanu island.[4]


Whereas Teanu used to be confined to the northeast part of the island group, during the 20th century it became the main language of the whole island group of Vanikoro, at the expense of the two other indigenous languages Lovono and Tanema.[4]

While the Melanesian population of Vanikoro now speaks Teanu, the southern coast of the island also has been colonised for a few centuries by a Polynesian population, who still keep strong ties with their homeland, the nearby island of Tikopia. Their main language is Tikopia, even though some speak Teanu as a second language.


Teanu has 5 phonemic vowels, /i e a o u/.[4]

  Front Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open a

Some information on Teanu, as well as on the two other languages of the island, can be found in François (2009).


  1. ^ List of Vanikoro languages (homepage of linguist A. François).
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Teanu". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Source: Maps of Vanikoro (languages, place names).
  4. ^ a b c François (2009).


External links[edit]