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

There are between sixty and seventy languages spoken in the Solomon Islands archipelago[1] (as opposed to the nation state of Solomon Islands, which covers a smaller area).[2] 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.[3] The neighbouring languages of Vanikoro are also heavily relexified Austronesian languages.[4]

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

List of the Solomon Islands languages[edit]

Language Code Speakers % of total popⁿ Area Family Branch
Pijin pis 24,390 (lg 1)
307,000 (lg 2)
4.0689 (lg 1)

51.2162 (lg 2)

Creole
'Are'are alu 17,800 2.9695 Malaita Southeast Solomonic Oceanic
Arosi aia 6,750 1.1261 Makira
Baeggu bvd 5,900 0.9843 Malaita
Baelelea bvc 8,800 1.4681 Malaita
Bauro bxa 3,420 0.5706 Makira
Birao brr 5,900 0.9843 Guadalcanal
Bughotu bgt 4,048 0.6753 Santa Isabel
Dori'o dor 2,406 0.4014 Malaita
Fagani faf 902 0.1505 Makira
Fataleka far 6,703 1.1182 Malaita
Gela nlg 11,876 1.9813 Nggela Islands
Ghari gri 12,119 2.0218 Guadalcanal
Gula'alaa gmb 1,568 0.2616 Malaita
Kahua agw 5,170 0.8625 Makira
Kwaio kwd 13,249 2.2103 Malaita
Kwara'ae kwf 32,433 5.4107 Malaita
Lau llu 16,937 2.8256 Malaita
Lengo lgr 13,752 2.2942 Guadalcanal
Longgu lgu 1,894 0.3160 Guadalcanal
Oroha ora 38 0.0063 Malaita
Owa stn 3,069 0.5120 Makira
Sa'a apb 11,519 1.9217 Malaita
Talise tlr 12,525 2.0895 Guadalcanal
Toqabaqita mlu 12,572 2.0974 Malaita
Wala lgl 6,978 1.1641 Malaita
Malango mln 4,135 0.6898 Guadalcanal
Gilbertese gil 1,230 0.2052 Gizo, Choiseul Micronesian
Tanema tnx 1 0.0002 Vanikoro Temotu
Asubuo aua 10 0.0017 Utupua
Amba utp 593 0.0989 Utupua
Äiwoo nfl 8,400 1.4014 Reef Islands
Lovono vnk 4 0.0007 Vanikoro
Nanggu ngr 210 0.0350 Nendö
Natügu ntu 4,280 0.7140 Nendö
Nalögo nlz 1,620 0.2703 Nendö
Tanibili tbe 15 0.0025 Utupua
Teanu tkw 800 0.1335 Vanikoro
Rennellese Sign Language 0 0.0000 Rennell and Bellona Province Home sign
Rennellese mnv 3,191 0.5323 Polynesian
Luangiua ojv 2,367 0.3949 Ontong Java
Sikaiana sky 731 0.1220 Sikaiana
Tikopia tkp 3,324 0.5545 Tikopia, Vanikoro
Vaeakau-Taumako piv 1,142 0.1905 Duff Is, Reef Is
Anuta aud 267 0.0445 Anuta Island
Lungga lga 2,767 0.4616 Ranongga Western Oceanic
Marovo mvo 8,094 1.3503 New Georgia
Mono mte 3,337 0.5567 Shortland Is, Treasury Is
Ririo rri 79 0.0132 Choiseul Province
Roviana rug 9,871 1.6468 New Georgia
Babatana baa 5,600 0.9342 Choiseul Province
Blablanga blp 1,772 0.2956 Santa Isabel
Cheke Holo mrn 10,840 1.8084 Santa Isabel
Dororo drr 0 0.0000 New Georgia
Duke nke 2,312 0.3857 Kolombangara
Ghanongga ghn 2,508 0.4184 Ranongga
Guliguli gli 0 0.0000 New Georgia
Hoava hoa 459 0.0766 New Georgia
Kazukuru kzk 0 0.0000 New Georgia
Kokota kkk 530 0.0884 Santa Isabel
Kusaghe ksg 2,395 0.3996 New Georgia
Simbo sbb 2,701 0.4506 Simbo
Ughele uge 1,202 0.2005 Rendova Island
Vaghua tva 1,960 0.3270 Choiseul Province
Vangunu mpr 907 0.1513 Vangunu
Varisi vrs 5,161 0.8610 Choiseul Province
Gao gga 1,215 0.2027 Santa Isabel
Laghu lgb 15 0.0025 Santa Isabel
Zabana kji 3,355 0.5597 Santa Isabel
Zazao jaj 10 0.0017 Santa Isabel
Lavukaleve lvk 1,783 0.2975 Russell Islands Central Solomonic
Savosavo svs 2,415 0.4029 Savo
Touo tqu 1,874 0.3126 Rendova Island
Bilua blb 8,740 1.4581 Vella Lavella

Italics indicate that a language is extinct.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tryon & Hackman (1983).
  2. ^ Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands the Past Four Thousand Years, Hugh Laracy (ed.), University of the South Pacific, 1989, ISBN 982-02-0027-X
  3. ^ Ross & Næss (2007).
  4. ^ François (2009)

Further reading[edit]