Motu, Hiri


A language of Papua New Guinea

Alternate Names
Hiri, Pidgin Motu, Police Motu

Very few L1 speakers (1992 T. Dutton).


Central Province, Port Moresby area; Oro, Central, Gulf, Milne Bay and Western provinces.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Austronesian Hiri Motu, Papuan Hiri Motu. Linguistically a pidginization of Motu [meu]. Influenced by English [eng], Tok Pisin [tpi], and Polynesian languages. Cannot understand Motu due to phonological and grammatical differences. Lexical similarity: 90% with Motu [meu].

Language Use

120,000 L2 speakers (1989 J. Holm). Papuan Hiri Motu widespread and considered the standard.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 5%. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1994.
Braille script. Latin script, primary usage.