Pak, Päk, Sasar
Native toVanuatu
RegionVanua Lava
Native speakers
2 (2010)[1]
DialectsAlo-Teqel, Pak, Sasar
Language codes
ISO 639-3lrz
One of the two remaining speakers of Lemerig, recorded in Vanuatu.

Lemerig is an Oceanic language spoken on Vanua Lava, in Vanuatu.

Lemerig is no longer actively spoken. The 2 remaining speakers live on the northern coast of the island.[2] The language has receded in favour of its neighbours Mwotlap and Vera'a.[1]


The name Lemerig (spelled Lēmērig [lɪmɪriɣ] in the local orthography) refers to a now abandoned village in northern Vanua Lava. Its name in Mwotlap is Lemyig [lɛmjiɣ]. It is likely the name contains a descendant of the Proto-Torres-Banks word *riɣi meaning "small".


Lemerig has sometimes been referred to using the names of its local varieties: Päk;[3] Sasar; Alo-Teqel.

Judging from wordlists published by missionary and linguist Robert Codrington,[4] these three varieties were very close to each other. The little differences there were went extinct during the 20th century.


Lemerig has 11 phonemic vowels. These are all short monophthongs /i ɪ ɛ æ a œ ø ɒ̝ ɔ ʊ u/.[5]

Lemerig vowels
Front Back
plain round
Close i ⟨i⟩   u ⟨u⟩
Near-close ɪ ⟨ē⟩ ø ⟨ö⟩ ʊ ⟨ō⟩
Open-mid ɛ ⟨e⟩ œ ⟨ë⟩ ɔ ⟨o⟩
Near-open æ ⟨ä⟩   ɒ̝ ⟨ā⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩


The system of personal pronouns in Lemerig contrasts clusivity, and distinguishes four numbers (singular, dual, trial, plural).[6]

Spatial reference in Lemerig is based on a system of geocentric (absolute) directionals, which is in part typical of Oceanic languages, in part innovative.[7]


  1. ^ a b François 2012, p. 87.
  2. ^ List of Banks islands languages.
  3. ^ Päk [pæk] is a village on the north coast of Vanua Lava island, today often referred to using its Mwotlap name Abek [aᵐbɛk]. Due to its vowel [æ] (potentially ambiguous to Western ears), the original name in Lemerig was spelled Pak in Codrington 1885 (pp.39 sqq), but Pek in Codrington 1891 (p.81).
  4. ^ See Codrington 1885, pp.39-52 sqq..
  5. ^ François 2011, p. 194.
  6. ^ François 2016.
  7. ^ François 2015, pp. 169–170.