Niue Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

Niuean is a Polynesian language, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages. It is most closely related to Tongan and slightly more distantly to other Polynesian languages such as Māori, Samoan, and Hawaiian. Together, Tongan and Niuean form the Tongic subgroup of the Polynesian languages. Niuean also has a number of influences from Samoan and Eastern Polynesian languages. [1]

Niuean was spoken by 1600 people on Niue Island (97.4% of the inhabitants) in 1991, as well as by speakers in the Cook Islands, New Zealand, and Tonga, for a total of around 8,000 speakers. There are thus more speakers of Niuean outside the island itself than on the island. Most inhabitants of Niue are bilingual in English. [2]

Language Demographics in Niue: [3]

  • Niuean (official) -- 46% (a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan)
  • Niuean and English -- 32%
  • English (official) - 11%
  • Niuean and others - 5%
  • Other - 6%

Niuean consists of two main dialects, the older Motu dialect from the north of the island and the Tafiti dialect of the south. The words mean, respectively, the people of the island and the strangers (or people from a distance). The differences between the dialects are mainly in vocabulary or in the form of some words. [4]

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Language Aids

Dictionaries

  • J M McEwen, Niue dictionary, Wellington, N.Z. : Dept. of Maori and Island Affairs, 1970 - Available at WorldCat
  • Wolfgang B Sperlich, Niue language dictionary : Niuean-English, with English-Niuean finderlist, Honolulu: Govt. of Niue in association with Dept. of linguistics, University of Hawai'i, 1997 - Available at WorldCat

Online Dictionaries

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Niuean language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niuean_language, accessed 21 March 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Niuean language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niuean_language#Speakers, accessed 21 March 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Niue," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niue#Languages, accessed 21 March 2021.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Niuean language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niuean_language#Dialects, accessed 21 March 2021.