Northwest Solomonic

Family Overview

The Northwest Solomonic network is a subgroup of languages belonging to the major Oceanic branch of the Austronesian family. Austronesian is the most widely spoken language family in geographic terms after Indo-European (which, is spoken on every continent). Austronesian languages are spoken from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand in the south, from Madagascar in the west to Easter Island in the east. Within that range it encompasses all the languages of Polynesia and Micronesia, island and coastal Melanesia, and the Philippines, as well as most of the languages of Malaysia and Indonesia, and several languages in Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China. 

The Oceanic branch of the family covers the eastern half of this domain. Polynesian and most Micronesian languages belong to this branch, as do the languages of Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, and the Austronesian languages of coastal and island Papuan New Guinea. 

 Within Oceanic, several first-order subgroups have been identified. One, Western Oceanic, is a loose grouping that includes (among others) the Meso-Melanesian linkage, a group of languages spoken on New Britain and New Ireland, on Bougainville, and in the western half of the Solomon Islands. Included in this is the New Ireland/Northwest Solomonic linkage, containing several smaller groups, one of which is Northwest Solomonic, a linkage or network of languages spoken on Bougainville (politically part of Papua New Guinea), and on the islands of Santa Isabel and Choiseul and in the New Georgia group of islands, all belonging to the Solomon Islands.

Northwest Solomonic consists of five or possibly six subgroups:

  • The Nehan/North Bougainville network
  • Piva and Banoni
  • Mono-Uruavan
  • Choiseul
  • New Georgia
  • Isabel

It is likely (but not yet certain) that the New Georgia and Isabel subgroups combine at some level to form a single first-order subgroup of Northwest Solomonic.

Northwest Solomonic language materials

Materials in several individual Northwest Solomonic languages are located on this site.

Nehan/North Bougainville subgroup: 

Mono-Uruavan subgroup:

Santa Isabel subgroup:

New Georgia subgroup:

Annotated bibliography of Northwest Solomonic materials

The annotated bibliography of Northwest Solomonic materials attempts to collate information on known materials, published and unpublished (excluding religeous translations), on languages of the Northwest Solomonic (NWS) branch of Oceanic.