Language facts sheet by Niklas Jonsson
©1997-1999 POLLI & Niklas Jonsson
A bibliography of works refered to in this file may be found in the
Polynesian Literature List.
Country/territory where spoken
Taumako (Duff) Islands and some of the Reef Islands - all in the Temotu
PIV (Grimes 1996: Ethnologue);
PIL (Biggs 1971)
Alternate language names
Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Eastern
Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central
Pacific, Eastern Fiji-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear Polynesian, Samoic-
Taumako, Pileni, Nukapu, Nupani, Aua, Matema
Wurm/Hattori (1981) make a distinction between the Taumako dialect (Eastern
Pileni dialect) and the Aua dialect (Western Pileni dialect), the latter
probably comprising the variants spoken on Aua, Nupani, Nukapu, Pileni and
Pileni speaking population
878 (1976); 878 total.
A, E, I, O, U, NG, H, K, L, M, N, P, S, T, V (Biggs 1971) - may be incomplete.
The island name "Nifiloli" (Stanley 1989:706) seems to imply that F may be
included in the alphabet. Speakers in the Taumako Islands pronounce H like F,
and S like H (Biggs 1971).
Pileni is spoken on the islands of Nupani, Nukapu, Pileni, Nifiloli and Matema
of the Reef Island Group, and in the Taumako (Duff) Islands (and on the island
of Aua, of which location I am uncertain - Niklas Jonsson). The Pileni and
Taumako dialects differ in significant ways (Grimes 1992). The Taumako and Aua
dialects, once phonologically different, may be merging (Biggs 1971). Speakers
are thought to be descendants of people from Tuvalu (Stanley 1989:650).
Data last updated
17 December 1998
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY - PILENI
1962. Oceanic linguistics today (includes information about
Pileni) (in: Current Anthropology, vol 3, p 371-428)
1968. Social organisation notes on the santa Cruz Islands:
The Duff Islands (Taumako) (includes information on Pileni kin terms)
(in: Baessler-Archiv, Neue Folge, Band 16, pp 137-208)
ELBERT, SAMUEL H.
1965. Phonological expansions in Outlier Polynesian (in: Milner/Henderson
(editors). Indo-Pacific linguistic studies - part 1, p 431-42)
RAY, SIDNEY H.
1912-. Polynesian linguistics: past and future (a series of articles
running through Journal of the Polynesian Society vol 21-30) (vol 29, p
176-86, include information about Pileni)