Northwest Solomonic

Torau dictionary

Version 4.1 (2007)

Bill Palmer

View the Torau dictionary.

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Alphabetic order

Items in the dictionary are listed in the following order by phoneme:

a b d e g i k l m n o p r s t u w ß

The phonemic status of [w] is not clear. In some instances it is an onset position realisation of the vowel /u/. Typically it represents a surface realisation of the phoneme /ß/, which appears to be weakening to /w/. However, in some instances it does appear to have discrete phoneme status, contrasting with /ß/. Where /w/ occurs in the phonemic representation in the dictionary it represents a form where the status of a surface [w] remains unconfirmed, or where speakers did not accept the form produced with either [ß] or [u] in place of [w]. However, further investigation is required.


This dictionary is the result of extensive collection lexical material and testing of material compiled from secondary sources in the field in 2006 and 2007. Secondary materials used to compile earlier versions of this dictionary were:

Allen, Jerry & Conrad Hurd (1963) [An unpublished SIL survey word list of Torau.]

McAdam, T.L. (1926) [A short word list of Torau collected in Rorovana village by McAdam, the Kieta District Officer] in 'Vocabulary of native languages.' In Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Report to the League of Nations on the Administration of the Territory of New Guinea from 1st July, 1924, to 30th June, 1925. Melbourne: Government Printer for the State of Victoria. [The list contains a total of 287 items (including some duplications, eg. ate as ‘water’ and as ‘river’.]

Rausch, Peter (1912) 'Die Sprache von Südost-Bougainville, Deutsche Salomoninseln.' Section D: 'Die Torau-Sprache.' Anthropos 7:983-985. [Grammatical notes on the language.]Rausch, Peter (1912) 'Die Sprache von Südost-Bougainville, Deutsche Salomoninseln.' Section E: ‘Vergleichendes Wörterverzeichnis.' Anthropos 7:986-994. [A word list of four languages including Torau.]

Ribbe, Carl (1903) Zwei Jahre unter den Kannibalen der Salomoinseln. Reiseerlebnisse und Schilderungen von Land und Leuten. Dresden-Blasewitz: Beyer. pp187-212 [Short word lists of 6 Northwest-Solomonic languages including Torau (under the name 'Gieta'), collected in 1894-1895. The lists contain 138 Torau items. It is not clear where Ribbe collected the list, as he did not visit the east coast of Bougainville.]

Document history

Version 4.1 (2007) Completely reformatted, checked and corrected.

Version 4.0 (2007a) Further revised, checked in the field, and corrected, with still further additional material collected in the field in 2007.

Version 3.0 (2006) Revised, checked in the field, and corrected, with extensive additional material collected in the field in 2006.

Version 2.0 (2004) Reformatting of n.d. for web delivery, with some revision.

Version 1.0 (n.d.) Original version compiled from secondary sources.