Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionMilne Bay Province (Goodenough Island)
Native speakers
(6,000 cited 1984)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3viv

Iduna is an Austronesian language spoken on Goodenough Island of Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.



The inventory of the Iduna language consists of 14 consonant phonemes.[2]

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive Voiceless t k ʔ
Voiced b d g
Fricative Voiceless f
Voiced v
Nasal m n
Approximant l j w h

Voiced plosives generally contrast with their unvoiced counterparts, except for the bilabial series, where /b/ varies freely between [b] and [p]. Moreover, the phoneme /g/ is commonly realized as [g], though for some speakers it may be pronounced as a voiced fricative [ɣ] without contrast. Finally, /t/ has also two allophonic realizations: [t] occurs word-initially and word-medially before non-front vowels /a/, /o/ or /u/, whereas [s] only appears before front vowels /i/ or /e/.[3] Other minor allophonic realizations may occur. Among these variations only the last one is reflected in the orthography.

Phoneme Allophones Context
/b/ [b ~ p], [bʷ] free variant; [bʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/f/ [f], [fʷ] Normally [f]; [fʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/k/ [k], [kʷ] Normally [k]; [kʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/g/ [g ~ ɣ], [gʷ] free variant; [gʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/t/ [t], [s] [s] before /i/ and /e/; [t] elsewhere
/d/ [d], [tʰ] [tʰ] before /i/ in final syllable position only; [d] elsewhere
/m/ [m], [mʷ] Normally [m]; [mʷ] before non-syllabic /u/


There are five vowel phonemes in Iduna.[2]

Front Central Back
High i u
Mid ɛ ɔ
Low a

Vowels have allophones too. The major allophonic variations are described in the following table. These include the double realization of /a/, which corresponds to [a] when found in stressed syllables, while it approximates [ʌ] in unstressed environments, and the nasal allophonic variant of /u/.[4]

Phoneme Allophone Context
/a/ [a], [ʌ] [a] in stressed syllable; [ʌ] elsewhere
/u/ [u], [ũ] [ũ] following /m/; [u] elsewhere

The language also has four monomoraic diphthongs: /ai/, /au/, /ao/ and /oi/. These are distinguished from vowel sequences, which instead are bimoraic, e.g. the word giyauna [gi.jau.nʌ] 'he scrapes it' contrasts with giyauna [gi.ja.u.nʌ] 'he unties it'.[5]


In Iduna consonant clusters are forbidden; therefore, there are only open syllables of type V, CV and CVV. Also, the special kind of sequence CuV is generally interpreted as CʷV.

Writing system

The Iduna alphabet is shown in the following table:[6]

A a B b D d E e F f G g H h I i L l
[a] [b] [d] [ɛ] [f] [g] [h] [i] [l]
M m O o S s T t U u V v W w Y y ʼ
[m] [ɔ] [s] [t] [u] [v] [w] [j] [ʔ]


  1. ^ Iduna at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 3–4.
  3. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 10–13.
  4. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 20–21.
  5. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 7–8.
  6. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), p. 30.