RegionSolomon Islands
Native speakers
(2,900 cited 1999)[1]
  • Mono
  • Alu
  • Fauro
Language codes
ISO 639-3mte
ELPMono (Solomon Islands)

Mono, or Alu, is an Oceanic language of Solomon Islands reported in 1999 to be spoken by 660 people on Treasury Island (Mono proper), 2,270 on Shortland Island (Alu dialect), and 14 on Fauro Island.[1]


Mono-Alu language has been studied extensively by Joel L. Fagan,[2] a researcher for the Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies at Australian National University. Their publication, "A Grammatical Analysis of Mono-Alu (Bougainville Straits, Solomon Islands),"[3] is one of the first and only translations and analysis of Mono-Alu language.

Fagan identified the Mono-Alu language as having twenty-eight phonemes. They are made up of nine diphthongs, and five vowels and fourteen consonants that make up the alphabet.

The Alu alphabet

  1. The Alu alphabet has 19 letters: A B D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V.
  2. Of these letters, D was seldom used instead of R for euphony's sake, but is used now in new foreign words or names introduced in the language. H generally (not always) is or can be replaced by F.


Pronunciation of vowels
Pronunciation of diphthongs
Pronunciation of consonants

The other consonants have the same sounds as in English.

Labial Coronal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t k g ʔ
Fricative s h
Tap ɾ
Approximant (w) l (j)
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid ɛ ɔ
Low ɐ


The number system of Mono-Alu is very similar to other Austronesian languages.[5] For example, Mono-Alu shares the numbers 'two' (elua) and 'five' (lima) with the Hawaiian Polynesian language. A number for 'zero' was available in the language, but it was under the same use as the word 'nothing.' Fagan identified numbers from one to ten-thousand in Mono-Alu.

Cardinal English
Menna nothing
Kala (or elea) one
Elua two
Episa three
Ehati four
Lima five
Onomo six
Hitu seven
Alu eight
Ulia nine
Lafulu ten
Lafulu rohona elea eleven
Lafulu rohona elua twelve
Lafulu rohona episa thirteen
Lafulu rohona efati fourteen
Lafulu rohona lima fifteen
Lafulu rohona onomo sixteen
Lafulu rohona hitu seventeen
Lafulu rohona alu eighteen
Lafulu rohona ulia nineteen
Elua lafulu (or Tanaoge) twenty
Episa lafulu (or Pisafulu) thirty
Efati lafulu (or Fatiafulu) forty
Lima lafulu (or limafulu) fifty
Onomo lafulu sixty
Fitu lafulu seventy
Alu lafulu eighty
Ulia lafulu (or Siafulu) ninety
Ea latuu one-hundred
Elua latuu two-hundred
Ea kokolei one-thousand
Elua kokolei two-thousand
Lafulu kokolei ten-thousand


Mono-Alu also made[clarification needed] use of ordinal numbers. However, only 'first' (famma) is an actual word, where all other successive numbers are a grammatical construct.

Ordinal English
famma first
Fa-elua-naang second
Fa-epis-naana third
Fa-ehati-naana fourth
Fa-lima-naana fifth
Fa-onomo-naana sixth
Fa-hitu-naana seventh
Fa-alu-naana eighth
Fa-ulia-naana ninth
Fa-lafulu-naana tenth



Mono-Alu, like many other Austronesian languages, uses two separate pronouns for the first-person plural. One is inclusive, including the listener, and the other is exclusive, not including the listener. There are also no third-person pronouns available in the language. Fagan translated pronouns and their possessives.

Pronoun Obj Suffix Other
singular mafa -afa -gu sagu
plural exclusive mani -ami -mang, -ma samang/sama
inclusive maita -ita -ra sara
singular maito -o -ng sang
plural maang -ang -mia samia
singular --- -i, -ng -na sana
plural --- -ri, -iri -ria saria

Mono-Alu is very specific regarding adverbs and other verb affixes. Verbs can be altered with a prefix, infix, and a suffix.

Prefixes Infixes Suffixes
ang relative prefix, alternate forms an, ai, a'nta fa infix denoting completion ai there, away
fa causative prefix, fa becomes f before a, alternate form ha fang one another (reciprocal infix), alternate form fan ma hither, thither, alternate form ama
ta infix or prefix showing action or state. fero elsewhere, to somewhere else
isa together, at the same time, alternate sa
male again (also occurs independently)
mea makes a plural
meka till[spelling?] tired, for a very long time, alternate form meko


a place where or whither,[clarification needed] alternate form ang occurs after a
ng added to the first of two names gives the meaning 'and', alternate form m
ua denotes addition, 'and', 'with'
-a 'of', especially before -ang, alternate forms an, ang, aan
afa- 'what?'
-ata often found after verbs and other words, alternate forms eta, ita, ota, uta
ga particle, most often after the first word in a sentence, untranslatable; 'so, therefore' at the beginning of a sentence, also used with pronoun forms to emphasise them: gafa, gami, gai, gaina, gang, etc.
-nana equivalent to copula, alternate form nina
-titi strengthens the idea of repetition or duration

Mono-Alu grammar also follows rules of gender.


Gender of nouns

There are two ways of indicating differences of gender:

  1. by different words: - e.g.
    • Tiong 'man' – Betafa 'woman'
    • Fanua 'men' – Talaiva 'women'
    • Lalaafa 'headman' – Mamaefa 'headwoman'
    • Tua-na 'his grandfather' – Tete-na 'his grandmother'
    • Kanega 'old man' (husband) – Magota 'old woman' (wife)
  2. by using an ord[spelling?] indicative of sex: – e.g.
    • Kui manuale 'baby' (male) – Kui batafa 'baby' (female)
    • Boo sule 'boar' – Boo tuaru 'sow' (sule and tuaru are used for animals only)

In other cases, there is no distinction between masculine, feminine and neuter.

Some exceptions within the rules of Mono-Alu have been discovered.[6]

Two adverbs of place, instead of being written with a double consonant, are written with one only accentuated.

Instead of the aspirate h, the letter f can be used:

  1. in verbs preceded by the causative ha (or fa)
    • e.g. fasoku (or hasoku) – 'let come'
  2. in verbs preceded by the prefix han (or fan) meaning reciprocity or duality
    • e.g. fanua (or hanua) - 'mon'[spelling?]
    • mafa (or maha) - 'I, no' [3]

There is no word for 'the' in the language.


There is no definite article in Alu.

There is no indefinite article such as 'a, an'; it is replaced by the indefinite number elea ('one').[3]


  1. ^ a b Mono at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ A Short grammar of the Alu language.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Fagan, Joel (1986). A Grammatical Analysis of Mono-Alu (Bougainville Straits, Solomon Islands). Canberra, Australia: The Australian National University. doi:10.15144/PL-B96. hdl:1885/145402. ISBN 0-85883-339-5.
  4. ^ Meier, Sabrina C. (2020). Topics in the Grammar of Mono-Alu (Oceanic). University of Newcastle.
  5. ^ Lincoln, Forster, Peter, Hilary (2001). Letters written in Mono-Alu language of Western District, Solomon Islands to Hilary Forster of N.Z. ; Mono-Alu word list by Hilary Forster of N.Z. and a teacher from Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands. Shortlands, Solomon Islands.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Stolz, Thomas (1996). Some Instruments Are Really Good Companions - Some Are Not. On Syncretism and the Typology of Instrumentals and Comitatives. pp. Theoretical Linguistics 23. 113–200.