Olrat language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Native toVanuatu
Native speakers
3 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3olr

Olrat is a moribund Oceanic language spoken on Gaua island in Vanuatu.

The language[edit]

A. François with †Maten Womal, the last storyteller of Olrat (Gaua, Vanuatu, 2003)

The three remaining speakers of Olrat live on the middle-west coast of Gaua.[3] They merged into the larger village of Jōlap where Lakon is dominant, after they left their inland hamlet of Olrat in the first half of the 20th century.[1]

Alexandre François identifies Olrat as a distinct language from its immediate neighbor Lakon, on phonological,[4] grammatical,[5] and lexical[6] grounds.


Olrat has 14 phonemic vowels. These include 7 short /i ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ u/ and 7 long vowels /iː ɪː ɛː aː ɔː ʊː uː/.[7]

Olrat vowels
  Front Back
Near-close i u
Close-mid ɪɪː ʊʊː
Open-mid ɛɛː ɔɔː
Open a

Historically, the phonologization of vowel length originates in the compensatory lengthening of short vowels when the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ was lost syllable-finally.[8]


  1. ^ a b François (2012).
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Olrat". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ List of Banks islands languages.
  4. ^ François (2005)
  5. ^ François (2007)
  6. ^ François (2011)
  7. ^ François (2005:445), François (2011:194).
  8. ^ François (2005:461).


External links[edit]