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The People of Papua New Guinea, Languages

pidgin language, Melanesians, Papuans, Tok Pisin, indigenous languages

More than 700 different languages and dialects are spoken among the Papuans and Melanesians. Melanesian languages belong to the Austronesian language family, which includes most of the indigenous languages of the Pacific Islands. Papuan languages belong to a distinct language family called Papuan. The geographical distribution of Papuan languages is limited to New Guinea and the easternmost islands of Indonesia. Enga is the most common Papuan language and is spoken in the central highlands of mainland Papua New Guinea. English is the official language and the language of instruction in schools, a legacy of colonial rule. It is widely understood, but only a small proportion of the population can speak it fluently. The principal lingua franca, spoken by more than half the population, is Tok Pisin, a pidgin language based on English, German, and Melanesian languages.

Article key phrases:

pidgin language, Melanesians, Papuans, Tok Pisin, indigenous languages, dialects, official language, different languages, Pacific Islands, population, language of instruction, schools, German, English, Enga


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