|Linguistic classification||One of the world's primary language families|
Language families of the Solomon Islands.
The Central Solomon languages are the four Papuan languages spoken in the state of the Solomon Islands.
The four languages are, listed from northwest to southeast,
The four Central Solomon languages were identified as a family by Wilhelm Schmidt in 1908. The languages are at best distantly related, and evidence for their relationship is meager. Dunn and Terrill (2012) argue that the lexical evidence vanishes when Oceanic loanwords are excluded. Ross (2005) and Pedrós (2015), however, accept a connection, based on similarities among pronouns and other grammatical forms.
Pedrós (2015) suggests, tentatively, that the branching of the family is as follows.
Savosavo and Bilua, despite being the most distant languages geographically, both split more recently than Lavukaleve and Touo according to Pedrós.
Palmer (2018) regards the evidence for Central Solomons as tentative but promising.
An automated computational analysis (ASJP 4) by Müller et al. (2013) grouped Touo, Savosavo, and Bilua together. Lavukaleve was not included. However, since the analysis was automatically generated, the grouping could be either due to mutual lexical borrowing or genetic inheritance.
Pedrós (2015) argues for the existence of the family through comparison of pronouns and other gender, person and number morphemes and based on the existence of a common syncretism between 2nd person nonsingular and inclusive. He performs an internal reconstruction for the pronominal morphemes of each language and then proposes a reconstruction of some of the pronouns of the claimed family. The reconstructions are the following:
|1 singular||2 singular||inclusive/
Central Solomon numerals from Pedrós (2015):
|1||ˈela, ˈpade / pa||aɺo / azo||ˈtelakom, ˈtelako||ˈomadeu, ˈmadeu|
|2||ˈedo||e̤ɺi||ˈlelemal, ˈlelaol, ˈlelaɰel, ˈlemal||ˈomuga, ˈmuga|
|3||iˈɰiβa / iˈɰia||hie||ˈeŋa||ˈzouke, ke|
As the comparisons indicate, lexical evidence for the relatedness of the four languages is limited.
The following basic vocabulary words are from Tryon & Hackman (1982), as cited in the Trans-New Guinea database. The Savosavo data is from Claudia Wegener's field notes.
|gloss||Lavukaleve||Mbaniata (Lokuru dialect)||Mbilua (Ndovele dialect)||Savosavo|
|louse||kea; lai||lisa; vutu||sipi; tiŋgau||dole|
|eat||eu; eui; oune||azafe||vuato||l-ou; samu|
|one||dom; tetelom||āroŋo; thufi||mandeu||ela; pade|
All Central Solomon languages have SOV word order except for Bilua, which has SVO word order due to Oceanic influence.