Polynesian languages

(redirected from Polynesian language)

Polynesian languages:

see Malayo-Polynesian languagesMalayo-Polynesian languages
, sometimes also called Austronesian languages
, family of languages estimated at from 300 to 500 tongues and understood by approximately 300 million people in Madagascar; the Malay Peninsula; Indonesia and New Guinea; the Philippines;
..... Click the link for more information.

Polynesian Languages


a group of about 30 languages of the Malayo-Polynesian, or Austronesian, family spoken on a number of islands in the Pacific. Although most are spoken within the triangle formed by New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, and Easter Island, there are isolated Polynesian languages in Melanesia and Micronesia. Speakers number more than 700,000 persons (1970, estimate); half use a Polynesian language in daily life, whereas the other half use a Polynesian language only in traditional ceremonies and on festive occasions.

From a linguistic point of view the Polynesian languages are closely interrelated and form a sharply defined group. Their genetic affinity with other Malayo-Polynesian languages is not quite clear. The Polynesian languages have a limited phonemic inventory, with five vowels and usually about nine or ten consonants; vowels may be short or long. In most Polynesian languages there are no closed syllables. In grammatical structure they are analytic and stem-isolating. Within the Polynesian group A. Pawley (New Zealand) distinguishes the Tongan subgroup, which includes the Tongan language, and the Polynesian proper subgroup. The latter is divided in turn into the languages of the Samoan subgroup, which includes Samoan and the Polynesian languages of Melanesia, and the East Polynesian languages, which include Maori, Hawaiian, Tahitian, Raroton-gan, and Rapa Nui.


Blinov, A. I. “Iazyki polineziitsev.” In Narody Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1956.
Biggs, B. “The Languages of Polynesia.” In the collection Current Trends in Linguistics, vol. 8. The Hague-Paris, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
This archaeological sequence falls within the timeframe within which linguistic models would expect the present Polynesian language and its immediate ancestor to have been spoken on the atoll.
Te Korero Maori means, Our Culture and Our Heritage in the Polynesian language.
The word "avaki," which comes from the Polynesian language spoken in the Marquesas Islands, connotes a distribution of resources in a manner in which everyone takes part.
As has been noted, by ourselves and others, Ulimaroa cannot be phonemically correct, since no Polynesian language (with the exception of a handful of outliers in Melanesia whose phonology has been enriched by borrowing) has more than one liquid (i.
The last twenty years has seen an apparent consensus that the immediate origins of Polynesian language, culture and biology lie solely with the Lapita peoples and cultures that settled Samoa and Tonga by 2700 years ago.
The Polynesian language East Futunan, the subject of this grammatical description, is spoken on the islands of Futuna and Alofi in the French territory of Wallis and Futuna.
This is based on an assumption that the established relationships between Polynesian languages will be reflected in material culture and social customs--West Polynesian plainware assemblages are the archaeological correlate of the proto-Polynesian language.
Polynesian languages are heavily nominalising, so that the substantivization of mana would scarcely be surprising.
Another important work, Krupa (1967), investigates consonant-consonant and vowel-vowel co-occurrence across syllables in Samoan, with the ultimate goal of clarifying the structural similarities among Polynesian languages for use in linguistic classification (see also Krupa 1966, 1968, 1971).
The Polynesian mtDNA level (40-50%) is similar in these areas regardless of language, whereas the Y chromosome correlates strongly with the presence of Polynesian languages.