Northwest Solomonic


Simbo is a language of the New Georgia subgroup of the Northwest Solomonic grouping of Oceanic. It is spoken on an island in the Solomon Islands' Western Province known elsewhere as Simbo, but known to its inhabitants as Mandegusu. According to Ethnologue the language had 2,701 speakers in 1999.


A number of Simbo texts were collected in the early 1990s by the Australian anthropologist Christine Dureau, but have not been published.

A series of texts, mainly invocations, prayers and the like, were collected by the British anthropologist Arthur Hocart on Simbo (then known to the British as Eddystone Island) during his stay on the island in 1908. Many of these appear in a series of anthropological articles later published by Hocart:

Hocart, Arthur M. (1922) 'Cult of the dead in Eddystone of the Solomon Islands.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 52:71-112, 259-305.

Hocart, Arthur M. (1925) 'Medicine and Witchcraft in Eddystone of the Solomons.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 55:229-270.

Hocart, Arthur M. (1931) 'Warfare in Eddystone of the Solomon Island.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 61:301-324.

Hocart, Arthur M. (1937) 'Fishing in Eddystone Island.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 67:33-41

The Hocart articles can be viewed via JSTOR by academics whose institutions participate in JSTOR. Search for Hocart in JRAI on the JSTOR site.

Audio data

An elicitation session with Lawrence Hickie, recorded on 18 January 1993, can be heard here.

The original tape was digitised by Paradisec and is held by Paradisec with the Permenant Idenitifer BP3-001-1. Thanks to Paradisec.


A dictionary of Simbo (Palmer 2007) is available here.


No reference grammar of Simbo exists. However, the grammar of the language is discussed in two small grammatical studies:

Palmer, Bill (1997) ‘Notes on mood and aspect in Simbo (Mandeghusu, Solomon Islands).’ In John Lynch & Fa'afo Pat (eds.) Proceedings of First International Conference on Oceanic Linguistics. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Ray, Sidney H. (1926) A comparative study of the Melanesian island languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Briefly describes a few key features of the grammar of Simbo.]