Tuvaluan
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
Tuvalu

Geographical region
Tuvalu Islands

Language codes
TUV (POLLI); ELL (Grimes 1996: Ethnologue); ECE (Biggs 1971)

Alternate language names
Tuvalu, Ellicean, Ellice

Genetic affiliation
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- Outlier, Ellicean

Dialect names
South Tuvaluan (on the islands of Nukufetau, Vaitupu, Funafuti, Nukulailai), North Tuvaluan (on the islands of Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niutao)

Tuvaluan speaking population
8,440 in Tuvalu (1987), 97% of the population in Tuvalu; 607 in Nauru (1979); 500 in New Zealand (Voegelin/Voegelin 1977); 357 in Fiji (1977); 11,000 total (1991).

Aphabet
A, E, I, O, U, F, NG, H, K, L, M, N, P, T, V (Biggs 1971) - may be incomplete. Also S? - see Stanley (1989:425). Loss of an unstressed vowel between identical consonants may occur (Biggs 1971:482).

Remarks
Not intelligible with Samoan, which was formerly used as a mission language. Tuvaluan and Tokelauan are mutually intelligible. The southern dialect is official. Most speakers are literate in Tuvaluan, but little reading material is available. The Micronesian language Ikiribati (Gilbertese) is spoken on the Tuvaluan atoll of Nui (Stanley 1989:422 and 424).

Data last updated
19 December 1998



SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY - TUVALULAN

BESNIER, NIKO.
1988. The linguistic relationships of spoken and written Nukulaelae registers (in: Language, vol 64, p 707-36)

BESNIER, NIKO.
1995. Literacy, emotion, and authority: reading and writing on a Polynesian atoll. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press

BESNIER, NIKO.
2000. Tuvaluan: a Polynesian language of the Central Pacific (in series: Descriptive Grammar Series). London. Routledge

KENNEDY, DONALD GILBERT.
1946. Te ngangana a te tuvalu: Handbook on the language of the Ellice Islands. Suva. Government Printer

KUNZ, E. F.
1959. An Annotated Bibliography of the Languages of the Gilbert Islands, Ellice Islands and Nauru

RANBY, PETER.
No date. A vocabulary of the Nanuma dialect of the language of the Ellice Islands

RANBY, PETER.
1980. A Nanumea lexicon (in series: Pacific Linguistics, series C, no 65). Canberra

[TRAD.].
1987. The Bible

[TRAD.].
1977. New Testament

[TRAD.].
1969. Portions of the Bible



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