New Caledonia Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

New Caledonia, a part of the French Republic, uses French as its official language, following the constitutional in June 1992. The thirty New Caledonian languages form a branch of the Southern Oceanic languages. They are spoken mainly by the indigenous Kanaks of the islands. [1]

The Kanak languages spoken in New Caledonia are part of the Oceanic group of the Austronesian family. Kanak languages are taught from kindergarten (four languages are taught up to the bachelor's degree) and an academy is responsible for their promotion. The three most widely spoken indigenous languages are Drehu (spoken in Lifou), Nengone (spoken on Maré) and Paicî (northern part of Grande Terre). Others include Iaai (spoken on Ouvéa). At the 2009 census, 35.8% of people aged 15 or older reported that they could speak (but not necessarily read or write) one of the indigenous Melanesian languages, whereas 58.7% reported that they had no knowledge of any of them. [2]

  • Loyalty Islands [3]
    • Drehu (Lifou Island)
    • Iaai (Ouvéa Island)
    • Nengone (Maré Island)
  • New Caledonian
    • Southern New Caledonian
      • Extreme Southern
        • Ndrumbea (vulnerable)
        • Numèè
      • South Southern
        • Xaracuu–Xaragure:
        • Xârâcùù
        • Xârâgurè (endangered)
        • Zire–Tiri:
        • Tîrî (endangered)
        • Zire
        • Wailic
          • Ajië
          • Arhö (critically endangered)
          • Arhâ (severely endangered)
          • Neku (severely endangered)
          • Orowe (endangered)
    • Northern New Caledonian
      • Vamale*
      • Haveke*
      • Haeke*
      • Central Northern
        • Cèmuhî
        • Paicî
      • North Northern
        • Pwaamei (endangered)
        • Pwapwa (severely endangered)
          • Bwatoo
          • Hmwaveke
          • Waamwang
          • Fwâi
          • Jawe (vulnerable)
          • Nemi (vulnerable)
          • Pije (severely endangered)
      • Extreme Northern
        • Caac (vulnerable)
        • Kumak (vulnerable)
        • Yuanga
        • Nyâlayu

The languages of the northern Voh–Koné, area (*) are often discussed as a unit.

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

French

Drehu

Nengone

Paicî

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

French

The French alphabet is based on the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, uppercase and lowercase, with five diacritics and two orthographic ligatures.

Letter Name Phonetic Alphabet Diacritics and ligatures
A a /a/ Àà, Ââ, Ææ
B /be/
C /se/ Çç
D /de/
E e /ə/ Éé, Èè, Êê, Ëë
F effe /ɛf/
G /ʒe/
H ache /aʃ/
I i /i/ Îî, Ïï
J ji /ʒi/
K ka /ka/
L elle /ɛl/
M emme /ɛm/
N enne /ɛn/
O o /o/ Ôô, Œœ
P /pe/
Q qu /ky/
R erre /ɛʁ/
S esse /ɛs/
T /te/
U u /y/ Ùù, Ûû, Üü
V /ve/
W double vé /dubləve/
X ixe /iks/
Y i grec /iɡʁɛk/ Ÿÿ
Z zède /zɛd/

The letters w and k are rarely used except in loanwords and regional words. The phoneme /w/ sound is usually written ou; the /k/ sound is usually written c anywhere but before e, i, y, qu before e, i, y, and sometimes que at the ends of words. However, k is common in the metric prefix kilo- (originally from Greek χίλια khilia "a thousand"): kilogramme, kilomètre, kilowatt, kilohertz, etc.

Drehu

Iaai

Nengone

Paicî

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

French

Drehu (Dehu)

Iaai

Nengone

Paicî

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Languages of New Caledonia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_New_Caledonia, accessed 15 June 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "New Caledonia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonia#Languages, accessed 15 June 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "New Caledonian languages," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Caledonian_languages#Languages, accessed 15 June 2021.