World Languages/Oceania

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Regions of Oceania

Oceania is divided in six main regions: Australia (orange on the map), Melanesia (green), Micronesia (pink), New Zealand (blue), Papua New Guinea (dark blue) and Polynesia (purple). The majority language in Oceania is English.

Oceania has many indigenous languages, though many have been replaced by English and other European languages. Melanesia and Australia is home to over 5,000 languages alone, with one of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world.

In comparison, Polynesia lacks great diversity, because they are all descendants of a migrant community from southern China (the proto-Austronesians) and have the same language family.

Australia[edit]

Melanesia[edit]

Micronesia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

Historically native languages to New Zealand are:

  • Maori (with various dialects)
  • Moriori (closely related to Maori)

Official languages of New Zealand are:

  • New Zealand English
  • Maori
  • New Zealand Sign Language

Papua New Guinea[edit]

With over 850 languages, Papua New Guinea holds a tenth of the world's 20,000 languages, despite its small population. Most are undocumented, especially as many of its users have not had contact with non-Papuan peoples. Papua New Guinea has 3 official languages: English, Hiri Motu and Tok Pisin. Tok Pisin language is the most spoken in the country and is used as the local lingua franca, it is an English-based creole.

Polynesia[edit]

Historically native languages to Polynesia are:

  • Cook Islands Maori
  • Niuean
  • Picairn
  • Samoan
  • Tongan