The official language of Micronesia is English. Other regional languages spoken throughout the over six hundred islands that make up the country include Chuukese, Kosraean, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi. There are approximately twenty Micronesian languages, all of which originate from the Oceanic linguistic family. These languages can be classified as being either nuclear Micronesian, such as Kosraean, or non-nuclear, including Nauruan.
Included amongst the various regional languages of Micronesia is Chuukese, a Trukic language spoken by approximately 51,000 people. Kosraean, which includes eleven consonants and twelve vowels, is still spoken by an estimated 8,000 people. Pohnpeian is an indigenous language that includes so called honorific speech only to be used when referring to seniors and those considered to be high ranking individuals. It is currently spoken by some 31,000 people on the island of Pohnpe. Ulithian, consisting of eight vowels and nineteen consonants, is the native tongue of about 3,000 local residents. Nukuoro is only spoken by about 860 people living on the Nukuoro atoll.
Examples of common phrases in Pohnpeian include a casual greeting of, “Kaselel”. “Ia edomw?” is used to ask someone their name and “Ia iromw?” translates to “How are you?”. Useful words in Nauruan, another indigenous language spoken in Micronesia, include, “Aran” meaning daytime and “Anubumin” signifying night. The Earth is known as, “Firmament”, while light and water can be translated to, “Iao” and “Ebok”.
Residents living on one of the many islands which make up the Federated States of Micronesia speak a variety of different native languages and dialects. Chief among these are the languages of Pingelapese, Puluwatese, Mortlockese, Mokilese, Ngatikese, and Satawalese. Ngatikese, also known as Sapwuahfik, is one of the regional languages which is considered to be vulnerable in regards to its linguistic long term survival.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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