SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

You already know that the native tongues of Oceania, and let me remind you that there are over 1100 of them, belong to two big language families. Add to this the creoles spoken in Melanesia and Hawaii, and…well…you have a pretty sizeable brood. But have you ever tried to ascertain the exact degree of relatedness between those languages? Which of them are siblings or cousins, and which are just distant relatives? It’s time to find out. … More SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

TALKING STORY ABOUT POUNDING-TARO LANGUAGE

In case you’re wondering: no, I won’t be writing about the language people use while pounding taro. Does such language even exist? Anyway, I’ll be writing about ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai, better known as Hawaiian Pidgin. Pounding-taro language is the literal translation of its Hawaiian name, which – you must admit – is quite fascinating. But then, Hawaiian Pidgin is fascinating. It is as fascinating and unique as the Aloha State itself. … More TALKING STORY ABOUT POUNDING-TARO LANGUAGE

NOBODY’S AND SOMEBODY’S NATIVE LANGUAGE IN MELANESIA

Pidgin and creole languages. You have heard about them, right? While the names sound familiar to most people, only some know what exactly hides behind these terms. In the Pacific, pidgins and creoles are present mainly in Melanesia, where they function as lingua franca. But how were they brought into existence in such a remote part of the world? … More NOBODY’S AND SOMEBODY’S NATIVE LANGUAGE IN MELANESIA

THE DESCENDANTS

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And they are probably right. Anything with colours, lines, dots, or arrows just stays in our heads better. Now, I would love to explain to you the relationships between Pacific languages using a nicely created tree diagram, but – truthfully – I suck at this. So instead of drawing a graph here, I’ll tell you a story about two big linguistic families. … More THE DESCENDANTS

“SOUTH PACIFIC PHRASEBOOK” BY LONELY PLANET

You would think that you don’t need a phrasebook if you have constant access to the Internet. You want to know how to say “Hello” in any given language, and your very cool uncle Google will always be there to help you. But imagine that one day you wake up in some faraway place (the remote islands of the Pacific, perhaps?) and your Internet connection no longer exists. What then? Then you might encounter a problem, unless you have a good old phrasebook as your companion. … More “SOUTH PACIFIC PHRASEBOOK” BY LONELY PLANET

MARSHALLESE 4.0: GRAMMAR, BABY!

Io̗kwe! [Hello!]

Ej et am̗ mour? [How are you?] Elukkuun em̗m̗an [I’m doing great.] As you can see, I really mastered all the basic phrases. The truth is, I’ve been repeating them day after day for the past couple of months, so I guess it’s not that big of an achievement. But even if it’s not, it means something – I have completed the first level, and I’m ready to take the next step, which is…grammar, baby! … More MARSHALLESE 4.0: GRAMMAR, BABY!

WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR FOREIGNERS)

You are not a Pacific Islander nor a person of Pacific descent. You are a foreigner (palagi, haole, ribelle, I-matang, kai valagi, etc.), who I presume likes studying languages and is interested in the beautiful islands of Oceania. I’m just taking a wild guess here, but – please tell me – am I even remotely close? I think I am – you are visiting this site, after all. … More WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR FOREIGNERS)

WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS)

So you are a Pacific Islander or a person of Pacific descent. You speak English or French. Or both. Or maybe even Spanish, German, or Japanese. But you don’t really speak the language of your ancestors. You know a few words, you can form a sentence or two, but you are not fluent. Does this description sound familiar to you? Are you this person? If the answer is “yes”, read on. … More WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS)

MARSHALLESE 3.0: MAY THE RAINBOW BE WITH YOU

Io̗kwe! [Hello!]

Ilukkuun m̗ōn̗ōn̗ō [I am very happy] that I’m (slowly) making (some) progress in Marshallese. Imel̗el̗e [I understand] more and more, which is something I’m extremely excited about. Obviously, I still can’t construct whole sentences, but I’m trying to use the vocabulary I already know whenever I can. And that is why today I will share with you some of the most beautiful and interesting Marshallese words I’ve come across so far. … More MARSHALLESE 3.0: MAY THE RAINBOW BE WITH YOU