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Lakon language

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Title: Lakon language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: East Vanuatu languages, Gaua, Languages of Vanuatu, List of endangered languages of the Pacific
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lakon language

Native to Vanuatu
Region Gaua
Native speakers
800  (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lkn
Glottolog lako1245[2]

Lakon is an Oceanic language, spoken on the west coast of Gaua island in Vanuatu.


Lakon is named after the area where it is spoken, also known as Lakona Bay, which encompasses the west coast of Gaua. It is sometimes referred to as Lakona (after its name in Mota). Its former dialects include Qatareu (Qätärew), Vure (Vurē), Toglatareu, Togla.


Lakon has 16 phonemic vowels. These include 8 short /i ɪ ɛ æ a ɔ ʊ u/ and 8 long vowels /iː ɪː ɛː æː aː ɔː ʊː uː/.[3]

Lakon vowels
  Front Central Back
Near-close i   u
Close-mid ɪɪː   ʊʊː
Open-mid ɛɛː   ɔɔː
Near-open ææː    
Open   a  

Historically, the phonemicisation of vowel length originates in the compensatory lengthening of short vowels when the alveolar trill /r/ was lost syllable-finally.[4]


  1. ^ François (2012:88).
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lakon". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ François (2005:445), François (2011:194).
  4. ^ François (2005:461).


  • François, Alexandre (2005), "Unraveling the history of vowels in seventeen north Vanuatu languages", Oceanic Linguistics 44 (2): 443–504, doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0034 
  • François, Alexandre (2011), "Social ecology and language history in the northern Vanuatu linkage: A tale of divergence and convergence", Journal of Historical Linguistics 1 (2): 175–246, doi:10.1075/jhl.1.2.03fra .
  • François, Alexandre (2012), "The dynamics of linguistic diversity: Egalitarian multilingualism and power imbalance among northern Vanuatu languages", International Journal of the Sociology of Language 214: 85–110, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2012-0022 .

External links

  • Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in Lakon from Project Canterbury
  • A book of traditional stories, monolingual in Lakon language (site of linguist A. François)
  • Detailed list and map of the Banks and Torres languages, showing range of Lakon.

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