Native toFederated States of Micronesia
Native speakers
51,330 (2000 census)[1]
Latin script
Official status
Official language in
 Federated States of Micronesia
Language codes
ISO 639-2chk
ISO 639-3chk

Chuukese /ˈkz/, also rendered Trukese /trʌˈkz/,[2] is a Chuukic language of the Austronesian language family spoken primarily on the islands of Chuuk in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. There are communities of speakers on Pohnpei, and Guam. Estimates show that there are about 45,900 speakers in Micronesia.[1]


Chuukese is an Austronesian language of the Micronesian subbranch. It is one of the dialects making up the Chuukic subgroup of Micronesian languages, together with its close relatives like Woleaian, Carolinian.[3]


Chuukese has the unusual feature of permitting word-initial geminate (double) consonants. The common ancestor of Western Micronesian languages is believed to have had this feature, but most of its modern descendants have lost it.[4]

Truk and Chuuk are a difference in orthography, and both older ⟨tr⟩ and current ⟨ch⟩ transcribe the sound [ʈʂ].

Chuukese consonants
Labial Alveolar Postalveolar/
plain lab.
Nasal plain m n ŋ
tense mːʷ ŋː
Plosive/Affricate p t ʈʂ k
Fricative plain f s
Trill r
Approximant w l j

Consonants are doubled in Chuuk when they have a voiceless sound. Some consonant combinations are frequently denasalized between vowels when doubled.[5][6][7]

Chuukese vowels
Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid e ʌ o
Low æ a ɒ

/ɨ/ can be heard as either central [ɨ] or back [ɯ].


Chuukese is one of the few languages allowing for word initial double consonants:[4]

Chuukese spelling
a á e é i o ó u ú f ff s ss k kk m mm mw mmw n ng nng p pp pw ppw r ch t tt w y
ɐ a e ə i o ɑ u ɨ f s k m mˠː nn̩ ŋ ŋː p p~b r t̪ː w j


  1. ^ a b Chuukese at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Bauer, Laurie (2007). The linguistic student's handbook (1 ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9780748627592.
  3. ^ Lynch, John; Ross, Malcolm; Crowley, Terry (2002). The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1128-4. OCLC 48929366.
  4. ^ a b "Reflexes of initial gemination in Western Micronesian languages" (PDF). University of California, Los Angeles. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 9, 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2005.
  5. ^ Goodenough, Ward Hunt; Sugita, Hiroshi (1980). Trukese-English dictionary = Pwpwuken tettenin fóós, Chuuk-Ingenes (1 ed.). Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. ISBN 978-0871691415.
  6. ^ Yunick, Stanley Jr. (2000). "Linguistics, TESL, and language planning in Micronesia". Studies in the Linguistic Sciences. 30 (1). Champaign: University of Illinois Press: 183–200.
  7. ^ Goodenough, Ward H. (1992). Gradual and Quantum Changes in the History of Chuukese (Trukese) Phonology. Oceanic Linguistics 31. pp. 93–114.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link) CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)