Lehali language

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Native toVanuatu
Native speakers
200 (2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tql
A speaker of Lehali, recorded in Vanuatu.[2]

Lehali (previously known as Teqel) is an Oceanic language spoken by about 200 people, on the west coast of Ureparapara Island in Vanuatu.[1] It is distinct from Löyöp, the language spoken on the east coast of the same island.


Lehali has 10 phonemic vowels. These are all short monophthongs /i ɪ ɛ æ ə a ɒ̝ ɔ ʊ u/:[3]

Lehali vowels
Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ ʊ
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Near-open æ ɒ̝
Open a


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

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


  1. ^ a b List of Banks islands languages.
  2. ^ A rough translation can be found in the comments to the Youtube version of this video.
  3. ^ François 2011, p. 194.
  4. ^ François 2016.
  5. ^ François 2015, pp. 175–176.


  • 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. hdl:1885/14819. 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.

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