Melanesian languages


Melanesian languages

      languages belonging to the Eastern, or Oceanic, branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family and spoken in the islands of Melanesia. The Melanesian languages, of which there are about 400, are most closely related to the languages of Micronesia and Polynesia; most have a few hundred or a few thousand speakers, and the total number of speakers of Melanesian tongues is fewer than 1,000,000. With few exceptions, these languages are only slightly documented.

      The most important Melanesian language is Fijian (Fijian language), spoken by about 334,000 persons and widely used in Fiji in newspapers, in broadcasting, and in government publications. Other Melanesian languages of note are Motu, in the form of Police Motu (Hiri Motu) (a pidgin), used widely as a lingua franca in Papua New Guinea; Roviana, the language of the Methodist Mission in the Solomon Islands; Bambatana, a literary language used by the Methodists on Choiseul Island; Bugotu, a lingua franca on Santa Isabel (Ysabel Island); Tolai, a widely used missionary language in New Britain and New Ireland; Yabêm and Graged, lingua francas of the Lutheran Mission in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea; and Mota, a widely used lingua franca and literary language of the Melanesian Mission in northern Melanesia in the 19th century.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Melanesian languages — The Melanesian languages are the indigenous languages of Melanesia. They include about 400 Austronesian languages (parts of the Central–Eastern Malayo Polynesian family) and numerous families of Papuan languages. Categories: Languages …   Wikipedia

  • Meso-Melanesian languages — Meso Melanesian Geographic distribution: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands Linguistic classification: Austronesian Malayo Polynesian Oceanic Meso Me …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of France — Languages of country = France [http://ec.europa.eu/public opinion/archives/ebs/ebs 243 en.pdf] image size= 200px caption = Regional languages official = French regional = Alsatian; Basque; Breton; Catalan; Corsican; Flemish; Franco Provençal;… …   Wikipedia

  • Melanesian pidgins — ▪ language       English based pidgins (pidgin) that are used widely in Melanesia (Melanesian culture); in some areas they have evolved into expanded pidgins, having become local vernaculars comparable to the creoles (creole languages) spoken in… …   Universalium

  • Languages of Vanuatu — Vanuatu has three official languages, English, French, and Bislama, a creole language evolved from English. Bislama is the first language of many urban ni Vanuatu, that is, the residents of Port Vila and Luganville. It is the most common second… …   Wikipedia

  • Melanesian — [mel΄ə nēzhən, mel΄ə nēshən] adj. of Melanesia or its peoples, languages, or cultures n. 1. a member of any of the indigenous peoples of Melanesia 2. a branch of the Austronesian family of languages, consisting of the languages of Melanesia …   English World dictionary

  • Melanesian mythology — is a European way of referring to the custom stories of the world area known since the 19th century as Melanesia , an umbrella term used for the archipelagos of New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands, the Admiralty Islands, Solomon Islands, New… …   Wikipedia

  • Melanesian culture — ▪ cultural region, Pacific Ocean Introduction  the beliefs and practices of the indigenous peoples of the ethnogeographic group of Pacific Islands known as Melanesia. From northwest to southeast, the islands form an arc that begins with New… …   Universalium

  • Languages of Fiji — Fiji has three official languages under the 1997 constitution; English, Fijian and Hindustani. Fijian is a spoken either as a first or second language by indigenous Fijians who make up around 54% of the population. Indo Fijians make up a further… …   Wikipedia

  • Melanesian — noun Date: 1845 1. a member of the dominant native group of Melanesia 2. a language group consisting of the Austronesian languages of Melanesia • Melanesian adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.