Ajië language

Last updated
Region Houailou, New Caledonia
Native speakers
5,400 (2009 census) [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aji
Glottolog ajie1238 [2]

Ajië (also known as Houailou (Wailu), Wai, and A'jie) is an Oceanic language spoken in New Caledonia. It has approximately 4,000 speakers.

Oceanic languages language family

The approximately 450 Oceanic languages are a well-established branch of the Austronesian languages. The area occupied by speakers of these languages includes Polynesia, as well as much of Melanesia and Micronesia.

New Caledonia Overseas territory of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean

New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean, located to the south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia and 20,000 km (12,000 mi) from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. Locals refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou.




Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voicelessptck(ʔ)
Nasal mnɲŋ
Fricative vɣ
Rhotic r, r̃, (rh)
Approximant jw

A glottal stop, only appears after oral vowels. Different speakers may realize /v/ as a bilabial sound /β/.


Front Central Back
High iɯu
High-mid eəo
Low-mid ɛʌɔ
Low a

Nasal vowels

Front Central Back
High ĩɯ̃ũ
High-mid ə̃õ
Low-mid ɛ̃ʌ̃ɔ̃
Low ã


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Déwé Gorodey, or Déwé Gorodé, is a New Caledonian teacher, writer, feminist and politician. She was active in agitating for independence from France in the 1970s. She has published poetry, short stories and novels. From 1999 she has been a member of the New Caledonia government, representing the pro-independence Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front. From April 2001 to June 2009 she served almost continuously as Vice President of the Government of New Caledonia.


  1. Ajië at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ajie". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. de La Fontinelle, Jacqueline (1976). La langue de Houailou, Nouvelle-Calédonie: description phonologique et description syntaxique. Peeters Publishers.