Ethnologue: Areas: Pacific

New Caledonia

178,000 (1995); 45% Melanesian. Literacy rate 85% among Melanesians. A French territory. Information mainly from SIL 1995, Wurm and Hattori 1981; Tryon 1991. Also includes Tahitian 7,000 (1982 SIL); Vietnamese 5,000 (1984 Far East Economic Review), Chinese 500. Data accuracy estimate: B. Christian, secular, Muslim. Blind population 30. The number of languages listed for New Caledonia is 40. Of those, 38 are living languages and 2 are extinct.

AJIË (HOUAILOU, WAILU, WAI, ANJIE) [AJI] 5,000 (1982 SIL). Houailou: east coast Monéo to Kouaoua and inland valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Wailic. Regional language and 'church language'. Grammar. Language of wider communication. NT 1922. Bible portions 1903-1972.

ARHÂ (ARA) [ARN] 250 (1974 census). Poya, upper valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Wailic. Reported to be bilingual in Ajië. Distinct from Arho. Survey needed.

ARHÖ (ARO) [AOK] 10 to 100 (1982 SIL). Poya, Cradji and Nékliai villages. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Wailic. Reported to be bilingual in Ajië and nearing extinction. Distinct from Arhâ. Survey needed.

BISLAMA (BICHELAMAR) [BCY] 1,200 in New Caledonia (1982 SIL). Mainly in Noumea. All from Vanuatu. Creole, English based, Pacific. Bible in press (1996). NT 1980. Bible portions 1968-1988.

BWATOO [BWA] 300 (1982 SIL). Voh-Kone: Baco, Gatope, Oundjo; Poya: Népou. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Hmwaveke. May be a dialect of Haveke. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Voh-Kone. Survey needed.

CAAC (MOENEBENG) [MSQ] 750 (1982 SIL). Pouébo, northeast coast. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Extreme Northern. Dialects: POUÉBO (PWEBO), LA CONCEPTION (ST. LOUIS).

CEMUHÎ (CAMUHI, CAMUKI, TYAMUHI, WAGAP) [CAM] 2,500 (1982 SIL). Touho: east coast from Congouma to Wagap and inland valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Central. Dictionary, grammar. Typology: Tonal. Work in progress.

DEHU (DE'U, DREHU, LIFOU, LIFU) [DEU] 15,000 (1991 UBS). Lifou, Loyalty Islands. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Loyalty Islands. Dialects: LOSI, WETE. Min is an old language of respect. Dictionaries, grammars. Typology: Word order depends on tense. Bible 1890. NT 1868-1968. Bible portions 1859-1877. Work in progress.

DUMBEA (NDUMBEA, NAA DUBEA, DUBEA, DRUBEA) [DUF] 1,400 (1982 SIL). Paita on the west coast, Ounia on the east coast. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, Extreme Southern. Dictionary, grammar. Typology: Tonal. Survey needed.

FRENCH [FRN] 53,400 first language speakers in New Caledonia (1987), 35.6% of the population; 72,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Mainly Noumea. Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance. National language. Bible 1530-1986. NT 1474-1980. Bible portions 1483-1987.

FUTUNA, EAST (FUTUNIAN) [FUD] 3,000 in New Caledonia (1986); 3,600 in Wallis and Futuna; 8,000 in all countries (1991 UBS). Also in Wallis and Futuna. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, Samoic-Outlier, Futunic. Not intelligible with Wallisian. Different from Futuna-Aniwa (West Futuna) in Vanuatu. Dictionaries. Migrant workers. Work in progress.

FWÂI (POAI, YENGEN, YEHEN) [FWA] 1,000 (1982 SIL). Hiènghène on the east coast; Ouenguip to Pindache and lower valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Nemi. Dictionary. Survey needed.

HAEKE (AEKE, 'AEKE) [AEK] 100 or fewer (1982 SIL). Voh-Kone: Baco. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Haekic. Speakers are reported to be bilingual in a neighboring dialect. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Voh-Kone. Nearly extinct.

HAVEKE (AVEKE, 'AVEKE) [AVE] 300 (1982 SIL). Voh-Kone: Gatope, Oundjo, Tiéta. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern. Bwatoo may be a dialect. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Voh-Kone. Survey needed.

HMWAVEKE ('MOAVEKE, CETA, FAA CETA) [MRK] 300 (1982 SIL). Voh: Tiéta. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Hmwaveke. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Voh-Kone. Work in progress.

IAAI (IAI, YAI) [IAI] 2,200 (SIL 1982). Ouvéa Island, Loyalty Islands. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Loyalty Islands. Grammars. Typology: VOS. Bible 1901. NT 1878. Bible portions 1868-1891. Work in progress.

JAVANESE, NEW CALEDONIAN [JAS] 6,750 (1987), 4.5% of the population. Noumea. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Sundic, Javanese. Migrant workers who came primarily between 1900 and 1938. Since World War II there has been continuing migration in both directions by individuals and families. The language is influenced by French, in contrast to the Javanese of Indonesia, which is influenced by Indonesian. Young people understand Javanese, but speak French. Sunni Muslim. Survey needed.

JAWE (NJAWE, DIAHOUE, OUBATCH, UBACH) [JAZ] 900 (1982 SIL). Northeast coast from Tchamboenne to Tao and upper valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Nemi. Dictionary. Survey needed.

KUMAK (KOUMAC, FWA-GOUMAK) [NEE] 900 (1982 SIL). Northwest coast of Koumac (Kumak dialect) and Poum (Nenema dialect). Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Extreme Northern. Dialects: KUMAK, NENEMA (NELEMA). Grammar.

MEA (HA MEA, HAMEHA) [MEG] 300 (1982 SIL). La Foa: upper valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern. Some influences from Tiri. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Tiri. Dictionary. Survey needed.

NEKU [NEK] 200 (1982 SIL). Bourail, lower valley. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Wailic. Survey needed.

NEMI [NEM] 600 (1982 SIL). East coast: upper valleys north of Hiènghène, and west coast at Voh: Ouélis and upper valley. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Nemi. Dictionary. Survey needed.

NENGONE (MARÉ, IWATENU) [NEN] 6,050 (1982 SIL). Mare, Loyalty Islands. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Loyalty Islands. Iwatenu is a dialect of respect. Dictionary, grammar. Typology: word order depends on tense. Bible 1903. NT 1864-1970. Bible portions 1855-1897.

NUMEE (NAA NUMEE, KAPONE, TOUAOURU, OUEN, KWENYII, KUNIE, TUAURU, DUAURU, UEN, WEN, NAA-WEE) [KDK] 1,800 (1982 SIL). Yate, Touaouru and Goro on main island south coast (Numee dialect), Isle Ouen (Ouen dialect), and Isle of Pines (Kwenyii). Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, Extreme Southern. Dialects: NUMEE (TOUAOURU), OUEN, KWENYII (KUNIE). Distinct from Nume of Vanuatu. Grammar. Typology: Tonal. Survey needed.

NYÂLAYU [YLY] 1,400 (1988). North coast, Belep Island, Arama and Balade. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Extreme Northern. Dialects: YALAYU, BELEP.

OROWE (BOEWE) [BPK] 750 (1982 SIL). Bourail upper valleys: Ni, Pothé, Bouirou, Azareu. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Wailic. Work in progress.

PAICÎ (PATI, PAACI, CI, PONERIHOUEN) [PRI] 5,500 (1982 SIL). East coast between Poindimié and Ponérihouen and inland valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Central. Dictionary. Typology: Tonal. Work in progress.

PIJE (PINJE, PINDJE) [PIZ] 100 (1982 SIL). Hiènghène: Tipindjé, Tiendanite, and Pouépaï. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Nemi. Dictionary. Survey needed.

PWAAMEI (POAMEI) [PME] 325 (1974 census). Voh: Ouélis, Témala, Tiéta. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North. Survey needed.

PWAPWA (POAPOA) [POP] 130 (1982 SIL). Voh: Boyen. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North. Survey needed.

TAYO ("KALDOSH", "CALDOCHE", PATOIS, PATOIS DE ST-LOUIS) [CKS] 1,000 possibly (1995). Southern, Ploum, Mont-Dore, and especially Saint-Louis, near Noumea. Creole, French based. Not intelligible with French. Apparently used as first language by some who are also bilingual in French, and as second language by others. Survey needed.

TIRI (CIRI, HA-TIRI, TINRIN) [CIR] 600 (1982 SIL). La Foa: lower valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Zire-Tiri. Some understanding of Mea. Dictionary, grammar. Typology: SVO, VOS. Survey needed.

UVEAN, WEST ((FAGA-UVEA (FAGAUVEA))) [UVE] 1,870 (1982 SIL). Northern and southern parts of Ouvea Atoll, Loyalty Islands. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, Samoic-Outlier, Futunic. Different from East Uvean on Uvea Island in the Wallis Islands. Dictionary. Typology: may be VSO. Atoll. Fishermen; agriculturalists: taro, sweet potato; hunters. Survey needed.

VAMALE ('MOAEKE, HMWAEKE, PAMALE) [MKT] 150 (1982 SIL). East coast: (Vamale dialect) Téganpaïk, Tiouandé; west coast: (Hmwaeke dialect) Voh, Tiéta. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern. Dialects: VAMALE, HMWAEKE. Hmwaeke dialect nearly extinct. Wurm and Hattori treat it as a dialect of Voh-Kone. Survey needed.

WAAMWANG (WAMOANG) [WMN] Voh, north. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, North, Hmwaveke. Extinct.

WALLISIAN (UVEAN, EAST UVEAN, WALLISIEN) [WAL] 9,000 in New Caledonia (1982); 7,500 in Wallis and Futuna (1987); 500 in Vanuatu (1982); 17,000 in all countries. Noumea. Also in Fiji. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, Samoic-Outlier, East Uvean-Niuafo'ou. Speakers are originally from Uvea Island in Wallis and Futuna. Dialect divergence from Wallis Islands Wallisian is becoming apparent. It has borrowed heavily from Tongan. Limited intelligibility with Tongan. Tongan is increasingly influenced by English and Wallisian by French. Bible portions 1971.

XÂRÂCÙÙ (XARACII, ANESU, HARANEU, KANALA, CANALA) [ANE] 3,500 (1982 SIL). Canala, east coast and inland valleys. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Xaracuu-Xaragure. Dictionaries. Typology: SVO, VOS. Survey needed.

XARAGURE (ARAGURE, 'ARAGURE, HARAGURE, THIO) [ARG] 950 (1982 SIL). Thio, east coast, and Ouinane on west coast. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Xaracuu-Xaragure. Typology: SVO, VOS. Survey needed.

YUAGA (YUANGA, THUANGA, JUANGA, NUA, NYUA) [NUA] 2,000 (1991 UBS). Inland valleys between Gomen (Thuanga dialect) and Bondé (Juanga dialect). Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Northern, Extreme Northern. Dialects: THUANGA, JUANGA. Grammar.

ZIRE (ZIRA, SIRHE, SICHE, SÎSHËË, NERË) [SIH] Bourail, coastal plain. Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, New Caledonian, Southern, South, Zire-Tiri. Zire is reported to be extinct. No mother tongue speakers. There are apparently a few who learned it as second language. Grammar.


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Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
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