Central Solomon languages

Central Solomons
Solomon Islands
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
Central Solomons languages.png
Language families of the Solomon Islands.
 Central Solomons

The Central Solomon languages are the four Papuan languages spoken in the state of the Solomon Islands.

The four languages are, listed from northwest to southeast,


The four Central Solomon languages were identified as a family by Wilhelm Schmidt in 1908. The languages are at best distantly related, and evidence for their relationship is meager. Dunn and Terrill (2012) argue that the lexical evidence vanishes when Oceanic loanwords are excluded.[1] Ross (2005) and Pedrós (2015), however, accept a connection, based on similarities among pronouns and other grammatical forms.

Pedrós (2015) suggests, tentatively, that the branching of the family is as follows.

Central Solomons

Savosavo and Bilua, despite being the most distant languages geographically, both split more recently than Lavukaleve and Touo according to Pedrós.

Palmer (2018) regards the evidence for Central Solomons as tentative but promising.[2]

An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013)[3] grouped Touo, Savosavo, and Bilua together. Lavukaleve was not included. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.

Pronoun reconstructions

Pedrós (2015) argues for the existence of the family through comparison of pronouns and other gender, person and number morphemes and based on the existence of a common syncretism between 2nd person nonsingular and inclusive. He performs an internal reconstruction for the pronominal morphemes of each language and then proposes a reconstruction of some of the pronouns of the claimed family. The reconstructions are the following:

1 singular 2 singular inclusive/
2 non-singular
1 exclusive
Pre-Savosavo *a-ɲi *no *me a-
Pre-Touo noe *me e̤-
Pre-Lavukaleve *ŋai *ŋo *me e
Pre-Bilua *ani/*aŋai *ŋo me e-
Proto-Central Solomons *ani/*aŋai *ŋo *me *e


Central Solomon numerals from Pedrós (2015):

numeral Savosavo Touo Lavukaleve Bilua
1 ˈela, ˈpade / pa aɺo / azo ˈtelakom, ˈtelako ˈomadeu, ˈmadeu
2 ˈedo e̤ɺi ˈlelemal, ˈlelaol, ˈlelaɰel, ˈlemal ˈomuga, ˈmuga
3 iˈɰiβa / iˈɰia hie ˈeŋa ˈzouke, ke
4 ˈaɰaβa a̤vo nun ˈariku
5 ˈara sodu ˈsie ˈsike, ke

As the comparisons indicate, lexical evidence for the relatedness of the four languages is limited.

Vocabulary comparison

The following basic vocabulary words are from Tryon & Hackman (1982),[4] as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database.[5] The Savosavo data is from Claudia Wegener's field notes.[6]

gloss Lavukaleve Mbaniata (Lokuru dialect) Mbilua (Ndovele dialect) Savosavo
head vatu lezu batu
hair memea zufu tou luta; sivuɰa
ear hovul ōŋgoto taliŋa tagalu
eye lemi mberɔ vilu nito
nose sisi emɔ ŋgame ɲoko
tooth neo nāne taka nale
tongue let ānl leño lapi
leg tau furime ɔe kiti
louse kea; lai lisa; vutu sipi; tiŋgau dole
dog mitakeu sie siele misu
bird malaɣul mānozo mbiaŋambiaŋa kosu
egg keruv āndena tɔruru kolei; si
blood ravu vo ndara ɰabu
bone sosokio minu piza tovolo
skin keut zuɔna tupu korakora
breast ɔfu susu susu susu
man ali finɔzɔ mamba tada
woman aira ŋgohe reko adaki
sky totoās uzia au oka
moon kua īndi kamboso kuɰe
water lafi fiɔ nĵu piva
fire lake hirɔ uza keda
stone mbeko; veko hɛŋga lando kato
road, path lake e keve keva
name laŋi nini ŋi nini
eat eu; eui; oune azafe vuato l-ou; samu
one dom; tetelom āroŋo; thufi mandeu ela; pade
two lelal; lemal ēri omuŋga edo


All Central Solomon languages have SOV word order except for Bilua, which has SVO word order due to Oceanic influence.[7]

See also

Further reading

  • Simon J Greenhill, & Robert Forkel. (2019). lexibank/tryonsolomon: Solomon Islands Languages (Version v3.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.3535809


  1. ^ Michael Dunn & Angela Terrill (2012) Assessing the lexical evidence for a Central Solomons Papuan family using the Oswalt Monte Carlo test. Diachronica 29:1–27.
  2. ^ Palmer, Bill (2018). "Language families of the New Guinea Area". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 1–20. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ Müller, André, Viveka Velupillai, Søren Wichmann, Cecil H. Brown, Eric W. Holman, Sebastian Sauppe, Pamela Brown, Harald Hammarström, Oleg Belyaev, Johann-Mattis List, Dik Bakker, Dmitri Egorov, Matthias Urban, Robert Mailhammer, Matthew S. Dryer, Evgenia Korovina, David Beck, Helen Geyer, Pattie Epps, Anthony Grant, and Pilar Valenzuela. 2013. ASJP World Language Trees of Lexical Similarity: Version 4 (October 2013).
  4. ^ Tryon, D.T. and Hackman, B.D. Solomon Islands languages: An internal classification. C-72, viii + 493 pages. Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University, 1982. doi:10.15144/PL-C72
  5. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  6. ^ Greenhill, Simon (2016). "TransNewGuinea.org - database of the languages of New Guinea". Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  7. ^ Stebbins, Tonya; Evans, Bethwyn; Terrill, Angela (2018). "The Papuan languages of Island Melanesia". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 775–894. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  • Ross, Malcolm, 2001. "Is there an East Papuan phylum? Evidence from pronouns", in The boy from Bundaberg. Studies in Melanesian linguistics in honour of Tom Dutton, ed. by Andrew Pawley, Malcolm Ross and Darrell Tryon: 301-322. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Structural Phylogenetics and the Reconstruction of Ancient Language History. Michael Dunn, Angela Terrill, Ger Reesink, Robert A. Foley, Stephen C. Levinson. Science magazine, 23 Sept. 2005, vol. 309, p 2072.
  • Ross, Malcolm, 2005. "Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages", in Papuan pasts: cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan speaking peoples, ed. by Andrew Pawley, Robert Attenborough, Robin Hide and Jack Golson: 15-65. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Pedrós, Toni, 2015. "New arguments for a Central Solomons family based on evidence from pronominal morphemes". Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 54, no. 2 (358-395).

External links

This page was last updated at 2021-06-26 08:37, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari