|ca. 1,100 (2012)|
Mwerlap is an Oceanic language spoken in the south of the Banks Islands in Vanuatu.
Its 1,100 speakers live mostly in Merelava and Merig, but a fair proportion have also settled the east coast of Gaua island. Besides, a number of Mwerlap speakers live in the two cities of Vanuatu, Port Vila and Luganville.
The language is named after Merelava.
Mwerlap has 12 phonemic vowels. These include 9 monophthongs /i ɪ ɛ ʉ ɵ ɞ ʊ ɔ a/ and 3 diphthongs /ɛ͡a ɔ͡ɞ ʊ͡ɵ/.
|Close||i ⟨i⟩||ʉ ⟨u⟩|
|Near-close||ɪ ⟨ē⟩||ɵ ⟨ö⟩||ʊ ⟨ō⟩||ʊ͡ɵ ⟨ōö⟩|
|Open-mid||ɛ ⟨e⟩||ɞ ⟨ë⟩||ɔ ⟨o⟩||ɔ͡ɞ ⟨oë⟩|
|Open||a ⟨a⟩||ɛ͡a ⟨ea⟩|
The system of personal pronouns in Mwerlap contrasts clusivity, and distinguishes three numbers (singular, dual, plural).
Spatial reference in Mwerlap is based on a system of geocentric (absolute) directionals, which is in part typical of Oceanic languages, and yet innovative.