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Languages of the Solomon Islands

Updated: 2017-06-23T03:22Z
Language families of the (geographic) Solomon Islands
Red: North Bougainville
Blue: South Bougainville
Green: Central Solomons
Grey: Austronesian
Orange: Yele (out of area)

There are between sixty and seventy languages spoken in the Solomon Islands archipelago as opposed to the nation state of Solomon Islands, which covers a smaller area.[1] The lingua franca is Pijin, and the official language is English.

Language families

Most of the languages in the Solomon Islands are Austronesian languages. The Central Solomon languages such as Lavukaleve constitute an independent family.

Two other language families are represented on Bougainville, which is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, if not within the national boundaries.

The status of the Reefs – Santa Cruz languages were once thought to be non-Austronesian, but further research found them to be divergent Austronesian languages.[2] The neighbouring languages of Vanikoro are also heavily relexified Austronesian languages.[3]

An indigenous sign language, Rennellese Sign Language, has gone extinct.

List of the Solomon Islands languages

Anutaaud267Anuta IslandPolynesian
'Are'arealu17,800MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Arosiaia6,750MakiraSoutheast Solomonic
Äiwoonfl8,400Reef IslandsTemotu
Babatanabaa5,600Choiseul ProvinceWestern Oceanic
Baeggubvd5,900MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Baeleleabvc8,800MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Baurobxa3,420MakiraSoutheast Solomonic
Biluablb8,740Vella LavellaCentral Solomonic
Biraobrr5,900GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Blablangablp1,772Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Bughotubgt4,048Santa Isabel IslandSoutheast Solomonic
Cheke Holomrn10,840Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Dori'odor2,406MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Dororodrr0New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Dukenke2,312KolombangaraWestern Oceanic
Faganifaf902MakiraSoutheast Solomonic
Fatalekafar6,703MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Gaogga1,215Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Gelanlg11,876Southeast Solomonic
Ghanonggaghn2,508RanonggaWestern Oceanic
Gharigri12,119GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Gilbertesegil1,230Gizo, ChoiseulMicronesian
Gula'alaagmb1,568MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Guliguligli0New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Hoavahoa459New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Kahuaagw5,170MakiraSoutheast Solomonic
Kazukurukzk0New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Kokotakkk530Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Kusagheksg2,395New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Kwaiokwd13,249MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Kwara'aekwf32,433MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Laghulgb15Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Laullu16,937MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Lavukalevelvk1,783Russell IslandsCentral Solomonic
Lengolgr13,752GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Longgulgu1,894GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Luangiuaojv2,367Ontong JavaPolynesian
Lunggalga2,767Western Oceanic
Malangomln4,135GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Marovomvo8,094New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Monomte3,337Western Oceanic
Orohaora38MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Owastn3,069MakiraSoutheast Solomonic
Pijinpis24,390 (lg 1)
307,000 (lg 2)
Rennellesemnv3,191Rennell and Bellona ProvincePolynesian
Rennellese Sign Languagersi1
Ririorri79Choiseul ProvinceWestern Oceanic
Rovianarug9,871New GeorgiaWestern Oceanic
Sa'aapb11,519MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Savosavosvs2,415SavoCentral Solomonic
Simbosbb2,701Western Oceanic
Talisetlr12,525GuadalcanalSoutheast Solomonic
Tikopiatkp3,324Tikopia, VanikoroPolynesian
Toqabaqitamlu12,572MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Touotqu1,874Rendova IslandCentral Solomonic
Ugheleuge1,202Rendova IslandWestern Oceanic
Vaghuatva1,960Choiseul ProvinceWestern Oceanic
Vangunumpr907VangunuWestern Oceanic
Varisivrs5,161Choiseul ProvinceWestern Oceanic
Walalgl6,978MalaitaSoutheast Solomonic
Zabanakji3,355Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic
Zazaojaj10Santa Isabel IslandWestern Oceanic

Italics indicate that a language is extinct.


  1. ^ Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands the Past Four Thousand Years, Hugh Laracy (ed.), University of the South Pacific, 1989, ISBN 982-02-0027-X
  2. ^ Ross & Næss (2007)
  3. ^ François (2009)
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