Languages of the Solomon Islands

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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 Region Family
Amba utp 593 Utupua Temotu
Anuta aud 267 Anuta Island Polynesian
'Are'are alu 17,800 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Arosi aia 6,750 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Asubuo aua 10 Utupua Temotu
Äiwoo nfl 8,400 Reef Islands Temotu
Babatana baa 5,600 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Baeggu bvd 5,900 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Baelelea bvc 8,800 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Bauro bxa 3,420 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Bilua blb 8,740 Vella Lavella Central Solomonic
Birao brr 5,900 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Blablanga blp 1,772 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Bughotu bgt 4,048 Santa Isabel Island Southeast Solomonic
Cheke Holo mrn 10,840 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Dori'o dor 2,406 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Dororo drr 0 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Duke nke 2,312 Kolombangara Western Oceanic
Fagani faf 902 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Fataleka far 6,703 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Gao gga 1,215 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Gela nlg 11,876 Southeast Solomonic
Ghanongga ghn 2,508 Ranongga Western Oceanic
Ghari gri 12,119 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Gilbertese gil 1,230 Gizo, Choiseul Micronesian
Gula'alaa gmb 1,568 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Guliguli gli 0 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Hoava hoa 459 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kahua agw 5,170 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Kazukuru kzk 0 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kokota kkk 530 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Kusaghe ksg 2,395 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Kwaio kwd 13,249 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Kwara'ae kwf 32,433 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Laghu lgb 15 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Lau llu 16,937 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Lavukaleve lvk 1,783 Russell Islands Central Solomonic
Lengo lgr 13,752 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Longgu lgu 1,894 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Lovono vnk 4 Vanikoro Temotu
Luangiua ojv 2,367 Ontong Java Polynesian
Lungga lga 2,767 Western Oceanic
Malango mln 4,135 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Marovo mvo 8,094 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Mono mte 3,337 Western Oceanic
Nanggu ngr 210 Nendö Temotu
Natügu ntu 4,280 Nendö Temotu
Nalögo nlz 1,620 Nendö Temotu
Oroha ora 38 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Owa stn 3,069 Makira Southeast Solomonic
Pijin pis 24,390 (lg 1)
307,000 (lg 2)
Creole
Rennellese mnv 3,191 Rennell and Bellona Province Polynesian
Rennellese Sign Language rsi 1
Ririo rri 79 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Roviana rug 9,871 New Georgia Western Oceanic
Sa'a apb 11,519 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Savosavo svs 2,415 Savo Central Solomonic
Sikaiana sky 731 Sikaiana Polynesian
Simbo sbb 2,701 Western Oceanic
Talise tlr 12,525 Guadalcanal Southeast Solomonic
Tanema tnx 1 Vanikoro Temotu
Tanibili tbe 15 Utupua Temotu
Teanu tkw 800 Vanikoro Temotu
Tikopia tkp 3,324 Tikopia, Vanikoro Polynesian
Toqabaqita mlu 12,572 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Touo tqu 1,874 Rendova Island Central Solomonic
Ughele uge 1,202 Rendova Island Western Oceanic
Vaeakau-Taumako piv 1,142 Polynesian
Vaghua tva 1,960 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Vangunu mpr 907 Vangunu Western Oceanic
Varisi vrs 5,161 Choiseul Province Western Oceanic
Wala lgl 6,978 Malaita Southeast Solomonic
Zabana kji 3,355 Santa Isabel Island Western Oceanic
Zazao jaj 10 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)