A language of Papua New Guinea

Alternate Names
Emira-Mussau, Musao, Musau-Emira

6,000 (2015 SIL), increasing. Ethnic population: 6,000 (2015 SIL). Includes 3,500 in the traditional area (2015 J. Brownie).


New Ireland province: Emira, Mussau, and Saint Matthias Islands northwest of Kavieng; Goroka, Kavieng, Lae, Madang, and Port Moresby.

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Language Status

5 (Developing).


Emira (Emirau), Western Mussau, Southern Mussau, Eastern Mussau.


SVO; noun head initial; dual, trial and paucal numbers; causatives; 11 consonants and 5 vowels; stress on penultimate syllable; inclusive/exclusive pronouns; alienable/inalienable possession.

Language Use

Vigorous. Spoken by nearly all. Passed on to children in the traditional area, and some elsewhere, except in mixed marriages. Tenis ethnic group also uses Emira dialect. Most domains, local administration, commerce, education in early grades, oral and some written use in church, personal letters. Used by all. Positive attitudes. All also use Tok Pisin [tpi]. Most also use English [eng]. Used as L2 by Tenis [tns].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 80%–95%. Literacy rate in L2: 80%–95% Tok Pisin [tpi] and English [eng]. Schooling declined for a few years from 1999 due to poor economy, and literacy rates then declined, but are now increasing again (2015 J. Brownie). Vernacular preparatory schools since 1994. Literature. Dictionary. Texts. NT: 2018.


Latin script [Latn].

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