11°37′S 169°51′E / 11.61°S 169.85°E / -11.61; 169.85

Native toSolomon Islands
RegionAnuta Island
Native speakers
(270 cited 1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3aud

The Anuta language (or Anutan, locally te taranga paka-Anuta) is a Polynesian Outlier language from the island of Anuta in the Solomon Islands. It is closely related to the Tikopia language of the neighboring island of Tikopia, and it bears significant cultural influence from the island. The two languages have a high degree of mutual intelligibility, although Anutans can understand Tikopians better than the reverse.[2]: 6 

Anuta is generally regarded as Nuclear Polynesian language, although it bears considerable Tongic influence.[3]

In 1977, Richard Feinberg published a two-volume dictionary and basic grammar of the language.


Anuta has an extremely small consonant inventory. This is as a result of several phoneme mergers such as /f/ with /p/ and /s/ with /t/.[2]: 8 

The allophonic variation is one of the Tikopian influences.[4]

Consonants[2]: 8 
Labial Alveolar Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p t ~ s k
Fricative v ~ w
Liquid l ~ ɾ

Vowels have a short and long form.[2]: 12  The length of a vowel makes a difference in phonetics and meaning in Polynesian languages, and may be written with vowel gemination ⟨aa⟩ or with a macron above ⟨ā⟩.[5]

In other times, long vowels are to emphasis.[5]

Vowels[2]: 12 
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open a

The stress in Anutan normally falls on the first syllable.[4]

The ākamana Polynesian syllabary for Anutan appears like this:

a e i o u
a ā ē ī ō ū
k ka ke ki ko ku
m ma me mi mo mu
n na ne ni no nu
ŋ ŋa ŋe ŋi ŋo ŋu
p pa pe pi po pu
r ra re ri ro ru
t ta te ti to tu
v va ve vi vo vu


Anuta shows many morphological similarities with Futunic languages and are related to Polynesian morphology.[4]


Anuta follows the word order SVO.[4] PAV (patient-verb-agent) ergative constructions are also common.

Anuta distinguishes personal pronouns into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person and single, dual, and plural.[2] Dual and plural 1st person are separated into exclusive and inclusive categories which depends on the words placement in the sentence.

2nd person pronouns should always be attached with either the particles ko, e, mo, or te.

When the pronoun is standing alone, usually in a response of a question, it is attached with the particle ko.[2]

Personal Pronouns[2]
singular dual plural
1st person exclusive au, kau maaua, ma matou, matou
inclusive taaua, ta tatou, tou
2nd person koe, ke korua, koru kotou, kotou
3rd person ia, ei, na naaua, na natou, natou

Similar to personal pronouns, possessive pronouns are divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, single, dual and plural. Dual and plural also being separated into exclusive and inclusive. However, whether the object is singular or plural will change the singular form of the pronouns.[2]

Possessive Pronouns[2]
singular dual plural
singular object plural object
1st person exclusive toku, taku oku, aku ma, o maaua matou, o matou
inclusive ta, o taaua tatou, o tatou
2nd person tou, tau ou, au koru, o korua kotou, o kotou
3rd person tona, tana, na ona, ana na, o naaua natou, o natou

Two ways of possessive construction. One, the possessive pronoun is directly attached to the object or two, directly attached to the dual or plural forms.

In singular possessive pronouns, when the object changes from singular to plural the /t/ drops.[2]


Any of the verbs in Anutan can be used as a noun by attaching "te".

Tense markers:

These tense markers may be attached to verbs without personal pronouns.[2] Usually placed between the noun and the verb.

If time is unimportant in the context of the sentence, tense markers will be dropped.


Numbers in Anuta are usually with tense markers.[2]

Anutan use decimal counting systems. Tens use the same unit term pua making 'twenty' pua rua, 'thirty' pua toru and so forth. After tens, the number indicated in the tens are marked with maa meaning 'and'. Eleven would be puangapuru maa tai meaning 'ten and one'. The same goes for twenty's, thirty's, etc.[2]

If the object of counting are humans the word toko will be placed in front of the number if it is enumerated.[2]

Counting fish would be marked with mata but is limited to ten or more.[2]

Anuta English
tai one
rua two
toru three
pa four
nima five
ono six
pitu seven
varu eight
aud|iva nine
puangapuru ten
puangapuru maa tai eleven
puangapuru maa rua twelve
pua rua twenty
pua toru thirty
(e) pua te rau hundred
(e) ape/te ape e tai one thousand
(e) mano/te mano e tai


A 200-word word list is available at the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database.[6]



  1. ^ Anuta at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Feinberg, Richard (1977). The Anutan Language Reconsidered: Lexicon and Grammar of a Polynesian Outlier, Volume 1. Human Relations Area Files. p. 139.
  3. ^ Feinberg, Richard (1989). "Possible prehistoric contacts between Tonga and Anuta". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 98 (3): 312.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Anutan language, alphabet and pronunciation". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b Feinberg, Richard. (1998). Oral traditions of Anuta : a Polynesian outlier in the Solomon Islands. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 1429404337. OCLC 252596862.
  6. ^ Biggs, Bruce; Clark, Ross. "Anuta". Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database. Simon Greenhill, Robert Blust & Russell Gray. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.