What Is The Most Common Language in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea language
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Global warming made us reconsider a lot of things. It is true that humans affect each other, but we sometimes forget that our interactions with nature and the world around us will also have consequences. This is why it is up to us to figure out whether or not we should continue exploring the world. If our exploration leads to the destruction of the world, then maybe it is better to let things be. There are many regions of the world that we still haven’t explored, just like there are various languages that we don’t know about yet. We have to ask ourselves whether knowing that they exist is enough or do we need to interfere with them to gain more insight.

Papua New Guinea and Its Languages:

Probably the most diverse country in the world is Papua New Guinea that is home to different indigenous groups. All of these groups live in separate communities, which is why not a lot is known about them in the outside world. Their cultures and beliefs are unique. The groups don’t even interact with each other. But the country offers them protection and does not interfere in their daily activities. It is interesting to note that these communities have their own vernaculars too.

According to one estimate, more than eight hundred and fifty languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea. Most of these are indigenous languages that are spoken by their respective communities only. Some of these vernaculars are only spoken by less than a thousand people. Only a handful of the total languages are known throughout the country. Lately, the country has been on the way to create a more united front, which involves making one vernacular popular throughout the nation. As a result, all the other vernaculars are losing their importance.

Hiri Motu the official langue of Papua New Guinea
  • How many different languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea?

    Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse place on our planet. In 2006, the Prime Minister of the country declared that there are 832 living languages in Papua New Guinea. Four languages are officially recognized in the constitution. They are Tok Pisin, English, Hiri Motu, and Papua New Guinean Sign Language.

  • What are the main languages spoken in Papua New Guinea?

    Papua New Guinea is known for being the home of 832 living languages. However, not all of them have speakers in the millions. It is Tok Pisin, an English-based creole, that has the greatest number of speakers. Hiri Motu and English are also spoken by a significant number of people. The Papua New Guinean Sign Language is used by the deaf population.

  • Why are there so many languages in Papua New Guinea?

    Papua New Guinea is an ethnically diverse country. Different ethnic groups with unique cultures live there. All of these ethnic groups have their own languages, which is why Papua New Guinea is home to more than 800 languages. Along with the languages, there are more than two hundred dialects spoken in the country.

  • Which country has 800 languages and 200 dialects?

    Papua New Guinea is the country that has 832 living languages and more than 200 dialects. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country. The official languages are Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu, English, and Papua New Guinean Sign Language. Tok Pisin is the most widely spoken language in the country. It is used by the speakers of different languages to communicate with each other.

  • What are the main languages spoken in Papua New Guinea?

    Although Papua New Guinea is home to more than 800 languages, only a few are spoken by millions of people. The most widely spoken language is an English-based creole and is known as Tok Pisin. It is the lingua franca in the country. Other main languages are English and Hiri Motu.

  • Which province in PNG has the highest number of languages?

    Madang is the province of Papua New Guinea with the highest number of languages. 173 regional languages are spoken in this province of PNG. Many languages in the province have fewer than 1,000 speakers. The languages are very diverse in nature and don’t share a lot of features with each other.

  • How do you say hello in Papua New Guinea?

    Tok Pisin is the most widely spoken language in Papua New Guinea. If you want to say hello in Tok Pisin, then you can use the phrase ‘Gude Hi Hai’ to do so. Since English is also one of the official languages of the country, it is understood by a significant percentage of the population. So, you can also use hello to greet someone in PNG.

  • Why does New Guinea have so many languages?

    Papua New Guinea has many ethnic groups that have their unique cultures. These ethnic groups also have their own languages. When sailors came to the country in the past, they brought their own languages to the region. As a result, many languages are spoken in the country today, even if most of them have only a few thousand speakers.

What is the Most Common Language in Papua New Guinea?

Answering linguistic questions about a diverse country like this is not easy. However, by studying the past and observing the present, we can reach a balanced conclusion. In a linguistically diverse country like Papua New Guinea, it was not easy for the population to select one language as their lingua franca. However, there is one vernacular in the country that is spoken the most widely, and that is Tok Pisin.

Common Language in Papua New Guinea

Tok Pisin:

Currently, more than 57% of the country’s population speaks Tok Pisin. Although there aren’t that many native speakers of the tongue, it has gained popularity as a second language. It has quickly established itself as the most widely spoken language in the country. Since it does not have a long history, it is not popular among older people. It is one of the officially recognized vernaculars in the country. It is an English-based creole but has developed its unique features over the years to be considered a separate language.

Among the people who speak it in Papua New Guinea today, some of them are not very fluent. However, the younger generations are learning it as their first language now from their parents and grandparents. It is also being taught in schools to make sure other children do not remain deprived of this knowledge. As the influence of Tok Pisin has increased in the country, it has had a negative effect on other vernaculars. It is known to be driving out other vernaculars. But people don’t see it as a bad thing as it will help them feel united as a nation.

The composition of Tok Pisin is unique. Although plenty of its vocabulary has been adopted from English, it also has elements of Malay, German, and Portuguese. The influence of Austronesian languages on Tok Pisin is also pretty clear. It is interesting to note that despite English dominating the administrative branches of the government, it is Tok Pisin that can be heard in parliamentary debates and election campaigns.


The second most common vernacular in Papua New Guinea is English. It is spoken by nearly 50% of the population. It is one of the three officially recognized languages in the country. Official documents are issued in English. Even schools use English as the medium of education. Although Tok Pisin’s popularity is increasing, it hasn’t affected English. That could be attributed to the importance of the English language in the world. People understand that they will have to rely on this vernacular to make their way into the world, which is why they can’t survive without learning it.

Hiri Motu:

The third official language of the country is Hiri Motu. It is spoken by nearly 5% of the population. It is the simplified form of the vernacular known as Motu, which belongs to the Austronesian family. But interestingly, the two are not mutually intelligible. There was a time when Hiri Motu was the lingua franca of one part of the country, but today, it has lost that position due to the popularity of Tok Pisin.

It is true that more than eight hundred vernaculars are spoken in Papua New Guinea, but we don’t know much about them. But despite the lack of outside influence, those tongues have managed to survive even after all this time. It is the close-knit communities of the indigenous people that have helped in keeping the vernaculars alive. Their wish to keep to themselves has helped their cultures and languages. The absence of outside influence has allowed the cultures and languages to maintain their purity.

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