|Region||Mota Lava island, Banks Islands|
The name Volow is originally a placename: it corresponds to the area known as Aplow, but in the local language Volow rather than in Mwotlap. This form, pronounced [βʊlʊw], is derived from Proto-Torres-Banks *βaluwa.
Volow has receded historically in favour of the now dominant language Mwotlap. It is now only remembered by a single passive speaker, who lives in the village of Aplow — the new name of what was previously known as Volow.
Consonants Labiovelar Bilabial Alveolar Dorsal Glottal Nasal ŋ͡mʷ ⟨m̄⟩ m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ ŋ ⟨n̄⟩ Stop voiceless t ⟨t⟩ prenasalized ᵑᵐɡ͡bʷ ⟨q̄⟩ ᵐb ⟨b⟩ ⁿd ⟨d⟩ ᵑɡ ⟨ḡ⟩ Fricative β[a] ⟨v⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ɣ ⟨g⟩ h ⟨h⟩ Approximant w ⟨w⟩ l ⟨l⟩ j ⟨y⟩
- [p] exists as the allophone of /β/ word-finally.
This consonant inventory includes a typologically rare consonant: a rounded, prenasalised voiced labial-velar plosive [ᵑᵐɡ͡bʷ]: e.g. [n.lɛᵑᵐɡ͡bʷɛβɪn] “woman” (spelled n-leq̄evēn in the local orthography).
Historically, Volow is the only daughter language to have preserved the voicing of the proto-phonemes *ᵑg > /ᵑɡ/ and *ᵐbʷ > /ᵑᵐɡ͡bʷ/, which is reconstructed for its ancestor Proto-Torres-Banks. Most of its neighbours (including Mwotlap) devoiced these to /k/ and /k͡pʷ/ respectively.
- Presentation of the Volow language, by linguist A. François. Access to the Volow corpus (Pangloss Collection of CNRS).
- A story in Volow presented in bilingual (Volow–French) format, with audio recording (Pangloss Collection of CNRS). This story was recorded by anthropologist Bernard Vienne in 1969 from the last fluent speaker Wanhand [†1986], and was translated by A. François in 2003, with the help of Wanhand's son.
- François, Alexandre (2005a), "Unraveling the history of the vowels of seventeen northern Vanuatu languages", Oceanic Linguistics, 44 (2): 443–504, doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0034, S2CID 131668754
- François, Alexandre (2005b), "A typological overview of Mwotlap, an Oceanic language of Vanuatu", Linguistic Typology, 9 (1): 115–146, doi:10.1515/lity.2005.9.1.115, S2CID 55878308
- François, Alexandre (2011), "Social ecology and language history in the northern Vanuatu linkage: A tale of divergence and convergence", Journal of Historical Linguistics, 1 (2): 175–246, doi:10.1075/jhl.1.2.03fra, hdl:1885/29283, S2CID 42217419.
- François, Alexandre (2012), "The dynamics of linguistic diversity: Egalitarian multilingualism and power imbalance among northern Vanuatu languages", International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2012 (214): 85–110, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2012-0022, S2CID 145208588
- François, Alexandre (2013), "Shadows of bygone lives: The histories of spiritual words in northern Vanuatu", in Mailhammer, Robert (ed.), Lexical and structural etymology: Beyond word histories, Studies in Language Change, vol. 11, Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton, pp. 185–244, ISBN 978-1-61451-058-1
- François, Alexandre (2021). "Presentation of the Volow language and audio archive". Pangloss Collection. Paris: CNRS. Retrieved 28 Sep 2022.