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Southeast Solomonic languages

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Southeast Solomonic
Eastern Solomon Islands
Linguistic classificationAustronesian
Proto-languageProto-Southeast Solomonic
  • Gela–Guadalcanal
  • Malaita – San Cristobal
  Southeast Solomons

The family of Southeast Solomonic languages forms a branch of the Oceanic languages. It consists of some 26 languages covering the Eastern Solomon Islands, from the tip of Santa Isabel to Makira. The fact that there is little diversity amongst these languages, compared to groups of similar size in Melanesia, suggests that they dispersed in the relatively recent past.[1] Bugotu, Gela and "supposedly" Lengo are three of the most conservative languages.


According to Lynch, Ross, & Crowley (2002), the structure of the family is as follows:[2]

Basic vocabulary[edit]

Basic vocabulary in many Southeast Solomonic languages is somewhat conservative, unlike Northwest Solomonic forms, many of which have no Proto-Oceanic cognates.[3] Below, Gela and Arosi are compared with three Northwest Solomonic languages. Aberrant forms are in bold.

English arm ear liver bone skin louse
Proto-Oceanic *lima *taliŋa *qate *suRi *kulit *kutu
Ririo karisi ŋgel tutuen punda kapat utu
Zabana kame taliŋa kola huma kafu gutu
Maringe lima khuli khebu knubra guli theli
Gela lima kuli ate huli gui-guli gutu
Arosi rima kariŋa rogo su-suri ʔuri-ʔuri kote


  1. ^ Lynch, John, Malcolm Ross & Terry Crowley. 2002. The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.
  2. ^ Lynch, John; Malcolm Ross; Terry Crowley (2002). The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1128-4. OCLC 48929366.
  3. ^ Pawley, Andrew. Explaining the Aberrant Austronesian Languages of Southeast Melanesia: 150 Years of Debate. Journal of the Polynesian Society, The, Vol. 115, No. 3, Sept 2006: 215–258.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tryon, Darrell T. and B. D. Hackman. 1983. Solomon Islands Languages: An Internal Classification. (Pacific Linguistics: Series C, 72.) Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University