Native toCentral Solomon Islands
RegionBig Nggela, Small Nggela, Sandfly and Buenavista Islands
Native speakers
(12,000 cited 1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3nlg
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Gela (Eng. pron. /ɡlɑː/ GAY-lah), also known as Nggela [ᵑgela][2] and formerly as Florida,[3] is an Oceanic language spoken in the Nggela Islands, in the middle of the Solomon Islands. It belongs to the Southeast Solomonic group of the Oceanic family.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Gela was used by the Melanesian Mission of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, as a language of Christianisation[4] ‒ along with Mota, a language of the Banks islands of northern Vanuatu. The first translation of the scriptures in Gela was published in 1882.[3]


The three dialects of Gela are very similar, differing mainly on a small number of phonological points.




Gela has the following consonant phonemes:

Labial Alveolar Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop p b t d k g
Fricative v s z ɣ
Approximant w l j
Trill r

The fricative /z/ is realized as [ð] in alternation with a retroflex sibilant [ʐ], initially before /a/.[5]

The Gela dominant voiced is "h" not "z". "Z" is found in Savosavo language speakers (and Bugotu and part of Guadalcanal) who also speak Gela - primarily due to their use of the Church of Melanesia Common Prayer Books and Hymns (written in Gela in the 1940s).


Gela uses /i, e, a, o, u/ with no contrastive vowel length.


Stress generally occurs on each word's penultimate syllable.

Sample vocabulary


  1. keha (keha or sakai, not keza)
  2. rua
  3. tolu
  4. vati
  5. lima
  6. ono
  7. vitu
  8. alu
  9. hiua (not hiwa)
  10. hangavulu
  11. hangavulu sakai
  12. hangavulu rua
  13. hangavulu tolu
  14. hangavulu vati
  15. hangavulu lima
  16. hangavulu ono
  17. hangavulu vitu
  18. hangavulu alu
  19. hangavulu hiua
  20. rua hangavulu
  21. rua hangavulu sakai
  22. rua hangavulu rua
  23. rua hangavulu tolu
  24. rua hangavulu vati
  25. rua hangavulu lima
  26. rua hangavulu ono
  27. rua hangavulu vitu
  28. rua hangavulu alu
  29. rua hangavulu hiua
  30. tolu hangavulu
  31. tolu hangavulu sakai
  32. tolu hangavulu rua
  33. tolu hangavulu tolu
  34. tolu hangavulu vati
  35. tolu hangavulu lima
  36. tolu hangavulu ono
  37. tolu hangavulu vitu
  38. tolu hangavulu alu
  39. tolu hangavulu hiua
  40. vati hangavulu
  41. vati hangavulu sakai
  42. vati hangavulu rua
  43. vati hangavulu tolu
  44. vati hangavulu vati
  45. vati hangavulu lima
  46. vati hangavulu ono
  47. vati hangavulu vitu
  48. vati hangavulu alu
  49. vati hangavulu hiua
  50. lima hangavulu

In general, for two-digit numbers, numbers are expressed as a*10+b, where a and b are numbers ranging from 1 to 9.


  1. ^ Gela at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Fox, Charles E. (1950). "Some notes on Nggela grammar". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 59 (2): 135–168.
  3. ^ a b Na Lei Kokoeliulivuti: Prayers in the Florida Language. Anglican Church of Melanesia.
  4. ^ Tryon, Darrell T. (1996-12-31). "Mission and church languages in Island Melanesia". In Stephen A. Wurm; Peter Mühlhäusler; Darrell T. Tryon (eds.). Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 619–624. ISBN 978-3-11-013417-9. Retrieved 2023-06-18.
  5. ^ Crowley, Terry (2002). "Gela". In John Lynch; Malcolm Ross; Terry Crowley (eds.). The Oceanic Languages. Richmond: Curzon. pp. 525–537.