This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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]

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

See also


  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.
  • 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