Papuan poems

Translated into Papuan languages

Papua New Guinea is a dream place for a poet.

It is the place where the greatest number of languages are found.

French original version
French love poem

The mystery of such distant cultures was well worth our interest.

Real audio voices: papuan kuanua, motu, tok pisin, enga etc!

Languages in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea holds the world record for linguistic diversity. There is an average of 5,000 speakers by language, which means that for the 800 languages listed in the country some have very few speakers. These languages can be divided into two main groups: the Papuan (non-Melanesian) and the Austronesian languages. Nearly all the languages of the Solomon islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia are Austronesian, but the majority of those of New Guinea are not. The latter used to be classified simply as non-Austronesian languages, but recent research has shown that many are related as families, or more distantly as stocks or phyla. As can be expected, with such an enormous group of language there are few universal features. However, some generalizations can be made. Their phonology, morphology, and syntax are typical in the group. As for many other places in the world, it is very difficult to find a consensus to know the number by separating languages from dialectal forms, because there are still no universally accepted criteria for measuring the linguistic distance between two speechs to call them language or dialect. For the same reasons, the given number concerning the number of languages in the world may be quite different according to the authors, perhaps there are a little more than 6,000, that is to say the weight of the Papua in this number. In any case with globalization and because everything becomes uniform, the 21st century will surely be the one where we will see the most languages disappear.
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Love poems copyright © National Library of France.