Languages of the Solomon islands archipelago

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Language families of the (geographic) Solomon Islands
Red: North Bougainville
Blue: South Bougainville
Green: Central Solomons
Grey: Austronesian
Orange: Yele (out of area)

There are between sixty and seventy languages spoken in the Solomon Islands archipelago as opposed to the nation state of Solomon Islands, which covers a smaller area.[1] The lingua franca is Pijin, and the official language is English.

Language families[edit]

Most of the languages in the Solomon Islands are Austronesian languages. The Central Solomon languages such as Lavukaleve constitute an independent family.

Two other language families are represented on Bougainville, which is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, if not within the national boundaries.

The status of the Reefs – Santa Cruz languages were once thought to be non-Austronesian, but further research found them to be divergent Austronesian languages.[2] The neighbouring languages of Vanikoro are also heavily relexified Austronesian languages.[3]

An indigenous sign language, Rennellese Sign Language, has gone extinct.

List of the Solomon Islands languages[edit]

Language Code Speakers % of the total population Region Family
Amba utp 593 0.0989 Utupua Temotu
Anuta aud 267 0.0445 Anuta Island Polynesian
'Are'are alu 17,800 2.9695 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Arosi aia 6,750 1.1261 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Asubuo aua 10 0.0017 Utupua Temotu
Äiwoo nfl 8,400 1.4014 Reef Islands Temotu
Babatana baa 5,600 0.9342 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Baeggu bvd 5,900 0.9843 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Baelelea bvc 8,800 1.4681 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Bauro bxa 3,420 0.5706 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Bilua blb 8,740 1.4581 Vella Lavella Central Solomonic
Birao brr 5,900 0.9843 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Blablanga blp 1,772 0.2956 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Bughotu bgt 4,048 0.6753 Santa Isabel Island Southeast Solomonic
Cheke Holo mrn 10,840 1.8084 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Dori'o dor 2,406 0.4014 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Dororo drr 0 0.0000 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Duke nke 2,312 0.3857 Kolombangara Western Oceanic
Fagani faf 902 0.1505 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Fataleka far 6,703 1.1182 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Gao gga 1,215 0.2027 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Gela nlg 11,876 1.9813 Southeast Solomonic
Ghanongga ghn 2,508 0.4184 Ranongga Western Oceanic
Ghari gri 12,119 2.0218 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Gilbertese gil 1,230 0.2052 Gizo, Choiseul Micronesian
Gula'alaa gmb 1,568 0.2616 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Guliguli gli 0 0.0000 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Hoava hoa 459 0.0766 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kahua agw 5,170 0.8625 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Kazukuru kzk 0 0.0000 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kokota kkk 530 0.0884 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Kusaghe ksg 2,395 0.3996 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kwaio kwd 13,249 2.2103 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Kwara'ae kwf 32,433 5.4107 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Laghu lgb 15 0.0025 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Lau llu 16,937 2.8256 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Lavukaleve lvk 1,783 0.2975 Russell Islands Central Solomonic
Lengo lgr 13,752 2.2942 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Longgu lgu 1,894 0.3160 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Lovono vnk 4 0.0007 Vanikoro Temotu
Luangiua ojv 2,367 0.3949 Ontong Java Polynesian
Lungga lga 2,767 0.4616 Western Oceanic
Malango mln 4,135 0.6898 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Marovo mvo 8,094 1.3503 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Mono mte 3,337 0.5567 Western Oceanic
Nanggu ngr 210 0.0350 Nendö Temotu
Natügu ntu 4,280 0.7140 Nendö Temotu
Nalögo nlz 1,620 0.2703 Nendö Temotu
Oroha ora 38 0.0063 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Owa stn 3,069 0.5120 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Pijin pis 24,390 (lg 1)
307,000 (lg 2)
4.0689 (lg 1)

51.2162 (lg 2)

Creole
Rennellese mnv 3,191 0.5323 Rennell and Bellona Province Polynesian
Rennellese Sign Language rsi 1 0.0002
Ririo rri 79 0.0132 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Roviana rug 9,871 1.6468 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Sa'a apb 11,519 1.9217 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Savosavo svs 2,415 0.4029 Savo Central Solomonic
Sikaiana sky 731 0.1220 Sikaiana Polynesian
Simbo sbb 2,701 0.4506 Western Oceanic
Talise tlr 12,525 2.0895 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Tanema tnx 1 0.0002 Vanikoro Temotu
Tanibili tbe 15 0.0025 Utupua Temotu
Teanu tkw 800 0.1335 Vanikoro Temotu
Tikopia tkp 3,324 0.5545 Tikopia, Vanikoro Polynesian
Toqabaqita mlu 12,572 2.0974 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Touo tqu 1,874 0.3126 Rendova Island Central Solomonic
Ughele uge 1,202 0.2005 Rendova Island Western Oceanic
Vaeakau-Taumako piv 1,142 0.1905 Polynesian
Vaghua tva 1,960 0.3270 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Vangunu mpr 907 0.1513 Vangunu Western Oceanic
Varisi vrs 5,161 0.8610 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Wala lgl 6,978 1.1641 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Zabana kji 3,355 0.5597 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Zazao jaj 10 0.0017 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic

Italics indicate that a language is extinct.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands the Past Four Thousand Years, Hugh Laracy (ed.), University of the South Pacific, 1989, ISBN 982-02-0027-X
  2. ^ Ross & Næss (2007)
  3. ^ François (2009)