Languages of Papua New Guinea

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Languages of Papua New Guinea
Languages Papua New Guinea.png
Official Tok Pisin, English, Hiri Motu, Papua New Guinean Sign Language
Lingua franca Tok Pisin

Today, there are 851 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. These languages are spoken by the tribal groups inhabiting Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. In 2006, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stated that "Papua New Guinea has 832 living languages (languages, not dialects)," [1] making it the most linguistically diverse place on Earth. [2] [3] Its official languages are Tok Pisin, English, Hiri Motu, and Papua New Guinean Sign Language. Tok Pisin, an English-based creole, is the most widely spoken, serving as the country's lingua franca. Papua New Guinean Sign Language became the fourth official language in May 2015, and is used by the deaf population throughout the country.

Papua New Guinea Constitutional monarchy in Oceania

Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. It is the world's 3rd largest island country with 462,840 km2 (178,700 sq mi).

Indonesia Republic in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and 7th in the combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.

Michael Somare Papua New Guinean political figure, former prime minister

Sir Michael Thomas Somare is a Papua New Guinean politician. He was a pivotal politician in the coming of independence. His political career spanned from 1968 until his retirement in 2017. He has been the longest serving prime minister. Besides that he has been minister of foreign affairs, leader of the opposition and governor of East Sepik.

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Languages

English

English-language sign on Doini Island. Doini Island Papua New Guinea Oceania Airport Sign.jpg
English-language sign on Doini Island.

Although English is an official language of Papua New Guinea, it is only spoken by 1–2% of the population. [4]

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Tok Pisin

English/Tok Pisin sign at Lae War Cemetery. Lae War Cemetery TokPisin sign at front gate.jpg
English/Tok Pisin sign at Lae War Cemetery.

Tok Pisin is an English-based creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in the country. In parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro and Milne Bay provinces, however, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal especially among older people.[ citation needed ]

Creole language stable natural languages that have developed from a pidgin

A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language that develops from the simplifying and mixing of different languages within a fairly brief period of time: often, a pidgin transitioned into a full-fledged language. While the concept is similar to that of a mixed or hybrid language, creoles are often characterized by a tendency to systematize their lexifer. Like any language, creoles are characterized by consistent system of grammar, possess large stable vocabularies, and are acquired by children as their native language. These three features distinguish a creole language from a pidgin.

Western Province (Papua New Guinea) Place in Papua New Guinea

Western Province is a coastal province in southwestern Papua New Guinea, bordering the Indonesian province of Papua. The provincial capital is Daru. The largest town in the province is Tabubil. Other major settlements are Kiunga, Ningerum, Olsobip and Balimo.

Gulf Province Place in Papua New Guinea

Gulf Province is a province of Papua New Guinea located on the southern coast. The provincial capital is Kerema. The 34,472 km² province is dominated by mountains, lowland river deltas, and grassland flood plains, the Kikori, Turama, Purari and Vailala rivers all meet the sea known as the Papuan Gulf. The province has the second-smallest population of all the provinces of Papua New Guinea with 106,898 inhabitants. The province shares land borders with Western Province to the west, Southern Highlands, Chimbu, and Eastern Highlands to the north, Morobe Province to the east, and Central Province to the southeast.

Hiri Motu

Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a simplified version of the Motu language of the Austronesian language family.

Motu is a Central Papuan Tip language that is spoken by the Motuans, an indigenous ethnic group of Papua New Guinea. It is commonly used today in the region, particularly around the capital, Port Moresby.

Austronesian languages language family of Southeast Asia and the Pacific

The Austronesian languages are a language family widely spoken throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. There are also a few speakers in continental Asia. They are spoken by about 386 million people (4.9%). This makes it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. Major Austronesian languages include Malay, Javanese, and Filipino (Tagalog). The family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family.

Unserdeutsch

Unserdeutsch, or Rabaul Creole German, is a German-based creole language spoken mainly in East New Britain Province. It is the only creole language that has developed from colonial German. The lexicon is derived from German, while the substrate language is Tok Pisin. [5]

Rabaul Place in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, on the island of New Britain, in the country of Papua New Guinea. It lies about 600 kilometres to the east of the island of New Guinea. Rabaul was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash from a volcanic eruption in its harbor.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

East New Britain Province Place in Papua New Guinea

East New Britain is a province of Papua New Guinea, consisting of the north-eastern part of the island of New Britain and the Duke of York Islands. The capital of the province is Kokopo, not far from the old capital of Rabaul, which was largely destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1994. East New Britain covers a total land area of 15,816 square kilometres (6,107 sq mi), and the province's population was reported as 220,133 in the 2000 census, rising to 328,369 in the 2011 count. Provincial coastal waters extend over an area of 104,000 square metres. The province's only land border is with West New Britain Province to the west, and it also shares a maritime border with New Ireland Province to the east.

Papuan languages

The Trans-New Guinea Family according to Malcolm Ross TNG map.svg
The Trans-New Guinea Family according to Malcolm Ross
Hotel Room Door Signs in Papua New Guinea Tok-Pisin New-Guinea-Pidgin Pidgin-English Melanesian-Pidgin Papua-New-Guinea-Hotel-Room-Door-Sign (DSC 3096).jpg
Hotel Room Door Signs in Papua New Guinea

Outside Papua New Guinea, Papuan languages that are also spoken include the languages of Indonesia, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.

East Timor Country in Maritime Southeast Asia

East Timor or Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. Australia is the country's southern neighbour, separated by the Timor Sea. The country's size is about 15,007 km2.

Solomon Islands Country in Oceania

Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that also includes the North Solomon Islands, but excludes outlying islands, such as Rennell and Bellona, and the Santa Cruz Islands.

Austronesian languages

People speaking languages belonging to the Austronesian family arrived in New Guinea approximately 3,500 years ago.[ citation needed ]

The Austronesian languages are widely spread across the globe, as far west as Malagasy in Madagascar, as far east as Rapa Nui on Easter Island, and as far as north as the Formosan languages of Taiwan. Austronesian has several primary branches, all but one of which are found exclusively on Taiwan.[ citation needed ]

Papua New Guinean Sign Language

PNGSL is an official language of Papua New Guinea; it is based on Auslan and various home sign forms.

Literacy

64.2% of the population of Papua New Guinea over 15 years of age are literate. [4]

Notes

  1. (Statement at the World Leaders Forum Archived 2008-03-18 at the Wayback Machine , Columbia University, September 21, 2006; website of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea).
  2. "Seven decades after Independence, many small languages in India face extinction threat".
  3. A.V. (24 July 2017). "Papua New Guinea's incredible linguistic diversity". The Economist . Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  4. 1 2 CIA World Factbook: Papua New Guinea
  5. Maitz, Volker, Peter, Craig Volker (2017). "Documenting Unserdeutsch Reversing Colonial Amneasia" (PDF). Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages: 365–397.

See also

Related Research Articles

A pidgin, or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several languages. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside. Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language.

Tok Pisin is a creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in the country. However, in parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro Province and Milne Bay Provinces, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal, especially among older people. While it likely developed as a trade pidgin, Tok Pisin has become a distinct language in its own right. It is often referred to by Anglophones as "New Guinea Pidgin" or "Pidgin English".

Melanesia subregion of Oceania

Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from New Guinea island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Tonga.

Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as their substantial lexifier. The most widely-spoken creole influenced by Portuguese is the Cape Verdean Creole.

Indigenous people of New Guinea ethnic group

The indigenous peoples of New Guinea, commonly called Papuans, are Melanesians. There is genetic evidence for two major historical lineages in New Guinea and neighboring islands:

  1. a first wave from the Malay archipelago perhaps 50,000 years ago when New Guinea and Australia were a single landmass called Sahul,
  2. and much later a wave of Austronesian people from the north who introduced Austronesian languages and pigs about 3,500 years ago, and who left a small but significant genetic trace in many coastal Papuan peoples.

Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is an official language of Papua New Guinea.

In linguistics, Melanesian is an obsolete term referring to the Austronesian languages of Melanesia: that is, the Oceanic, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, or Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages apart from Polynesian and Micronesian. A typical classification of the Austronesian languages ca. 1970 would divide them into something like the following branches:

Unserdeutsch, or Rabaul Creole German, is a German-based creole language that originated in Papua New Guinea as a lingua franca. The substrate language is assumed to be Tok Pisin, while the majority of the lexicon is from German. German was the language of instruction in Catholic mission schools, which is where the language originated, and children residing in a German-run orphanage later used the language regularly outside of their classrooms. The language developed into a first language for some when these children had families of their own. Oral stories tell a version that Unserdeutsch originated by children sharing stories where they used German vocabulary with Tok Pisin grammar, this change in language is referred to as relexification.

The Tolai language, or Kuanua, is spoken by the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea, who live on the Gazelle Peninsula in East New Britain Province.

Vitu or Muduapa is an Oceanic language spoken by about 7,000 people on the islands northwest of the coast of West New Britain in Papua New Guinea.

Languages of Indonesia languages of a geographic region

More than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia. A major part of them belong to the Austronesian language family, while over 270 Papuan (non-Austronesian) languages are spoken in eastern Indonesia. The official language is Indonesian, a standardised form of Malay, which serves as the lingua franca of the archipelago. The vocabulary of Indonesian borrows heavily from regional languages of Indonesia, such as Javanese, Sundanese and Minangkabau, as well as from Dutch, Sanskrit and Arabic.

Takia is an Austronesian language spoken on Karkar Island, Bagabag Island, and coastal villages Megiar and Serang, Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. It has been syntactically restructured by Waskia, a Papuan language spoken on the island.

Samoan Plantation Pidgin is an English-based pidgin language that was spoken by plantation workers in Samoa. It is closely related to Tok Pisin, due to the large number of New Guinean laborers in Samoa.

Languages of Oceania languages of a geographic region

Native languages of Oceania fall into three major geographic groups:

Papuan Pidgin English was a 19th-century English-based pidgin of New Guinea. It was eventually replaced by Hiri Motu, a Melanesian-based pidgin, and was not ancestral to modern English-based Tok Pisin.

Melanesian Pidgin or Neo-Melanesian language comprises three related English-based languages of Melanesia:

References