RegionMalekula, Vanuatu
Native speakers
1,100 (2001)[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3mwi
Ninde is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
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Ninde, or Labo (also Nide, Meaun, Mewun) is an Oceanic language spoken by about 1,100 people in the Southwest Bay area of Malekula island, in Vanuatu.

One unusual feature is that it has both a voiced and a voiceless bilabial trill.[2]

In popular culture

In an episode of the British television programme An Idiot Abroad, Karl Pilkington meets the chief of a local tribe, who comments upon the Ninde language. He explains that “all the words of Ninde begin with /n/”, such as the word nimdimdip for palm tree, naho for fruit, or nuhuli for leaf. They then visit the grave of a woman who was named Nicola.

However, this general statement is actually not true. Ninde words that start with /n/ are generally inanimate common nouns of the language; the /n/ reflects an old nominal article (< Proto-Oceanic *na) which has been fused to the radical of these common nouns. As for the name Nicola, which is a borrowed European name, it cannot be taken as representative of the Ninde language.


  1. ^ Lynch & Crowley (2001).
  2. ^ LINGUIST List 8.45: Bilabial trill. Retrieved on 2010-12-08.