Northwest Solomonic materials

Edited by Bill Palmer

On this site:

* the Northwest Solomonic subgroup

* an annotated bibliography of Northwest Solomonic languages

* Northwest Solomonic language materials

* useful links

The Northwest Solomonic group of languages

The Northwest Solomonic network is a subgroup of languages belonging to the major Oceanic branch of the Austronesian family. Austronesian is the most widely spoken language family in geographic terms after Indo-European (which, let's face it, is spoken everywhere). Austronesian languages are spoken from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand in the south, from Madagascar in the west to Easter Island in the east. Within that range it encompasses all the languages of Polynesia and Micronesia, island and coastal Melanesia, and the Philippines, as well as most of the languages of Malaysia and Indonesia, and several languages in Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China.

The Oceanic branch of the family covers the eastern half of this domain. Polynesian and most Micronesian languages belong to this branch, as do the languages of Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, and the Austronesian languages of coastal and island Papuan New Guinea.

Within Oceanic, several first-order subgroups have been identified. One, Western Oceanic, is a loose grouping that includes (among others) the Meso-Melanesian linkage, a group of languages spoken on New Britain and New Ireland, on Bougainville, and in the western half of the Solomon Islands. Included in this is the New Ireland/Northwest Solomonic linkage, containing several smaller groups, one of which is Northwest Solomonic, a linkage or network of languages spoken on Bougainville (politically part of Papua New Guinea), and on the islands of Santa Isabel and Choiseul and in the New Georgia group of islands, all belonging to the Solomon Islands.

Northwest Solomonic consists of five or possibly six subgroups:

• The Nehan/North Bougainville network

• Piva and Banoni

• Mono-Uruavan

• Choiseul

• New Georgia

• Isabel

It is likely (but not yet certain) that the New Georgia and Isabel subgroups combine at some level to form a single first-order subgroup of Northwest Solomonic.

An annotated bibliography of Northwest Solomonic

Click to view an extensive annotated bibliography of materials on Northwest Solomonic languages.

Northwest Solomonic language materials

Click here to view research on a typologically unusual grammatical construction found in most Northwest Solmonic languages, with data from some twenty languages in the group.

Materials in several individual Northwest Solomonic languages are located on this site or linked to this page. This is a work in progress, and more materials and more languages will be added as time passes, so keep visiting this site!

At present, materials on the following individual languages are presented or linked:

Hakö (Nehan/North Bougainville subgroup)

Solos (Nehan/North Bougainville subgroup)

Teop (Nehan/North Bougainville subgroup)

Papapana (Nehan/North Bougainville subgroup)

Uruava (extinct, Mono-Uruavan subgroup)

Torau (Mono-Uruavan subgroup)

Kokota (Santa Isabel subgroup)

Cheke Holo (Santa Isabel subgroup) 

Roviana (New Georgia subgroup)

Simbo (New Georgia subgroup)

Useful links

* Ethnologue

* The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London

* The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

* The Archive of the DoBeS project at the Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics

* The Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey

* The Department of Linguistics at the Research School of Pacific and Asian studies at the Australian National University

* The UK Austronesian Research Group


© Bill Palmer 2005. Last modified 2 June 2005