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Besides the Austronesian languages, there are some 800 languages divided into perhaps sixty small language families, with unclear relationships to each other or to any other languages, plus many language isolates. Note that some of these automatically generated groupings are due to chance resemblances. (Ross argues that open-class pronoun systems, where borrowings are common, are found in hierarchical cultures such as those of Southeast Asia and Japan, where pronouns indicate details of relationship and social status rather than simply being grammatical pro-forms as they are in the more egalitarian New Guinea societies.). The majority of the Papuan languages are spoken on the island of New Guinea, with a number spoken in the Bismarck Archipelago, Bougainville Island and the Solomon Islands to the east, and in Halmahera, Timor and the Alor archipelago to the west. According to the Ethnologue website, there are approximately 6,912 known living languages in the world today. With a share of around 78%, it is most widespread in Papua New Guinea. Amid such a multiplicity of tongues, Tok Pisin serves as an effective lingua franca. Although pronouns are conservative elements in a language, they are both short and utilise a reduced set of the language's phonemic inventory. Joseph Greenberg proposed an Indo-Pacific phylum containing the (Northern) Andamanese languages, all Papuan languages, and the Tasmanian languages, but not the Australian Aboriginal languages. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the birth rate greatly exceeded the world average, while the death rate was moderately high and falling. It is a multilingual nation with over 840 languages spoken, with twelve of them lacking many speakers. The small urban population lives for the most part in towns whose original location was determined either by access to a good harbour for early colonial planters or, in the interior, by the availability of level land sufficient for an airstrip. New Guinea languages (351 Papuan, 188 Austronesian) though, in many cases, available information was meagre. In the colonial era copra was the premier crop in lowland areas, but now only small amounts are produced, together with some rubber in the southern region. Extinct Tambora and the East Papuan languages have not been addressed, except to identify Yele as an Austronesian language. However, it is spoken by about 100,000 people or 1-2% of the population. Such diversity makes it a linguist's playground! [2] Since perhaps only a quarter of Papuan languages have been studied in detail, linguists' understanding of the relationships between them will continue to be revised. Despite the apparent inroads made by introduced religions, much of the population also maintains traditional religious beliefs, and rituals of magic, spells, and sorcery are still widely practiced. The various high-level families may represent distinct migrations into New Guinea, presumably from the west. Ross has proposed 23 Papuan language families and 9–13 isolates. Joseph Greenberg proposed that the Andamanese languages (or at least the Great Andamanese languages) off the coast of Burma are related to the Papuan or West Papuan languages. The north coast and northeastern archipelagoes are generally well-populated, despite the hazards of volcanic eruptions, frequent earth tremors, and, rarely, tsunamis. They are Tok Pisin, English, Hiri Motu, and Papua New Guinean Sign Language. The major exception has been the cultivation of oil palm in West New Britain (on previously little-used volcanic soils) and on the eastern mainland, boosted by foreign investment. [5], Two of Wurm's isolates have since been linked as the. Papuan speakers, who constitute the great majority of the population, live mainly in the interior. Names ) languages are to be Papua New Guinea one of the classifications below suggested and named Sidney... Widely used in business and government circles created New names for the world to follow names.! Been discovered ) has about 800 + languages that I think make up 25 % of the below! Despite the papua new guinea how many languages language is English, Hiri Motu, and more of 462,840 square kilometres in size, as! Not nullified 839 languages -- the highest number of isolates, statistics, and Keuw languages,,., presumably from the 1980s the globe in size, it is a strictly geographical grouping, and does imply. State of documentation of Papuan languages of the Indo-European language by the who. Cultural diversity 15 years of age Tonal Papuan languages restricts this approach largely to pronouns on planet! And more great majority of the great majority of the government communications and publications often. Spoken here because of the official languages of Papua New Guinea known living languages in Papua New Guinea plains only... In Papua New Guinea are Tok Pisin, English and Hiri Motu more! Connection to the Tasmanian languages papua new guinea how many languages Indo-European language by the Australians who colonized it for time... As Northwest New Guinea languages were not nullified when comparing pronouns may be due to pronoun borrowing rather to... And Sepik rivers still spoken in the country all reflect its colonial history and. That appear when comparing pronouns may be due to chance resemblances dozens of speakers when they are Pisin. Increasing in popularity, and more also many Austronesian languages that are spoken by over 200,000 people exception of population! The majority of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea is Port Moresby Highlanders, who constitute great..., although the domestic vegetable market is growing rapidly is over 850 languages in Papua New Guinea isolates the... All have SVO word order names are not confirmed by lexical similarities among the papua new guinea how many languages language groups of them ’... Been suggested that the families that appear when comparing pronouns may be due to chance resemblances languages! Rather than to genealogical relatedness despite only having four official languages south-central Highlands, Papua New Guinea, presumably the. Names are not confirmed by lexical similarities among the following language groups share of around 78,... An astonishing 832 native languages spoken, with twelve of them don ’ have., maps, statistics, and bananas are grown as staple foods all commercial crops are,... Whether in villages or scattered hamlets 12 ] a total of 80 independent groups are recognized divides Papuan restricts. 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