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Hiw language

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Title: Hiw language  
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Subject: Kwamera language, Port Vato language, Southwest Tanna language, North Tanna language, North Ambrym language
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Hiw language

Native to Vanuatu
Region Hiw
Native speakers
280  (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hiw
Glottolog hiww1237[2]

Hiw (sometimes spelled Hiu) is an Oceanic language spoken on the island of Hiw, in the Torres Islands of Vanuatu.[3]

It is distinct from Lo-Toga, the other language of the Torres group.

The language

Hiw has 280 speakers, and is considered endangered.[4][5]



Hiw has 9 phonemic vowels. These are all short monophthongs /i ɪ e ɵ ə a ʉ o ɔ/.[6]


Hiw has 14 consonants.[6]
Hiw consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar
Plosive p t k
Nasal m n ŋ ŋʷ
Fricative β s ɣ w
Glide j

All plosives are voiceless. Hiw is the only Austronesian language whose consonant inventory includes a prestopped velar lateral approximant /ɡ͡ʟ/; this complex segment is Hiw's only liquid.[7]


  1. ^ François (2012:88).
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Hiw". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ François (2005:444)
  4. ^ François (2012:100).
  5. ^ : HiwUNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.
  6. ^ a b François (2010a:396)
  7. ^ François (2010a)


External links

  • Linguistic map of north Vanuatu, showing range of Hiw.

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