Language of the Day: Iaai

vilvil_dancingLet’s take a journey…

Like the moon at most times during its cycle the island is in the shape of a crescent. Surrounded by sandy white beaches that drift into the Pacific Ocean this picturesque island is just a small piece of a larger group of islands. The lush green of vegetation covers the ground which stretches for 50 Km in length and 7 Km in width.

We are on Ouvéa Island which is one of the Loyalty Islands, in the archipelago of New Caledonia and it is on this small island that is in overseas territory of France that we find the speakers of Iaai. Coming from the Loyalty Island line of the Austronesian family Iaai is a well-documented language with a number of publications on the linguistic elements of the language.

Ouvéa Island is the home of one other language, Fagauvea which is significantly different than Iaai even though the two languages have been in contact with one another for many years. With around 4000 speakers Iaai is considered a threatened language but with schools now dedicated to teaching the language and other preventative measures in place the language is well on its way to preservation.

Thanks for joining us on this journey in language.


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