Lihir language

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Region Lihir Island, off New Ireland
Native speakers
13,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lih
Glottolog lihi1237[2]

The Lihir language is an Austronesian language spoken in the Lihir island group, in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. It is notable for having 5 levels of grammatical number: singular, dual, trial, paucal and plural.[3] It is questionable whether the trial is indeed trial or whether it is paucal, leaving there being a paucal and a greater paucal.[3] Either way, this is the highest number of levels of grammatical number in any language.[3] This distinction appears in both independent pronouns and possessor suffixes.[3] There is some variation in pronunciation and orthography between the main island Niolam, and some of the smaller islands in the group.


  1. ^ Lihir at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lihir". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c d Corbett, Greville G. (2000). Number. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics. Cambridge University Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780521649704. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 

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