A language of Papua New Guinea

Alternate Names
Alngubin, Kobai, Kowai

6,000 (2011 SIL). Ethnic population: 6,300.


Morobe Province, Siassi district, Umboi and Rooke islands. 13 villages.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).

Language Use

Vigorous. Retained despite pressure from Tok Pisin [tpi]. Use in first 3 years of primary education and geographic isolation on an island help language maintenance. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Tok Pisin [tpi] used with outsiders (health personnel, government officials, including police) and also in church services alongside Kovai.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 30%–40%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–60% (Tok Pisin). Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Bible portions: 1993–2008.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

All but 2 villages situated in an ancient caldera on this volcanic island. Traditional religion, Christian.