Lakona, Vure
Native toVanuatu
Native speakers
800 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lkn
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Lakon [lakɔn] is an Oceanic language, spoken on the west coast of Gaua island in Vanuatu.


The language name Lakon [lakɔn] refers originally to the area where it is spoken ‒ namely Lakona Bay, corresponding to the west coast of Gaua. The alternative name Lakona [lakona] is from the Mota language. These names are derived from a Proto-Torres-Banks form *laᵑgona, of unknown meaning.

Lakon had four dialects, named Qatareu (Qätärew [k​͡pʷætærɛw]), Vure (Vurē [βurɪ]), Toglatareu, and Togla.


Lakon has 16 phonemic vowels. These include 8 short /i ɪ ɛ æ a ɔ ʊ u/ and 8 long vowels /iː ɪː ɛː æː aː ɔː ʊː uː/.[2]

Lakon vowels
  Front Back
Near-close i ⟨i⟩ ∙ ⟨ii⟩ u ⟨u⟩ ∙ ⟨uu⟩
Close-mid ɪ ⟨ē⟩ ∙ ɪː ⟨ēē⟩ ʊ ⟨ō⟩ ∙ ʊː ⟨ōō⟩
Open-mid ɛ ⟨e⟩ ∙ ɛː ⟨ee⟩ ɔ ⟨o⟩ ∙ ɔː ⟨oo⟩
Near-open æ ⟨ä⟩ ∙ æː ⟨ää⟩  
Open a ⟨a⟩ ∙ ⟨aa⟩

Historically, the phonemicisation of vowel length originates in the compensatory lengthening of short vowels when the alveolar trill /r/ was lost syllable-finally.[3]


The system of personal pronouns in Lakon contrasts clusivity, and distinguishes four numbers (singular, dual, trial, plural).[4]

Spatial reference in Lakon is based on a system of geocentric (absolute) directionals, which is typical of Oceanic languages.[5]


  1. ^ François (2012:88).
  2. ^ François (2005:445), François (2011:194).
  3. ^ François (2005:461).
  4. ^ François (2016).
  5. ^ François (2015).