Northeast Malakula
Native toVanuatu
Native speakers
9,000 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3upv
Northeast Malakula is not endangered according to the classification system of the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Northeast Malakula, or Uripiv-Wala-Rano-Atchin, is a dialect chain spoken on the islands of Uripiv, Wala, Rano, and Atchin and on the mainland opposite to these islands. Uripiv-Wala-Rano-Atchin is spoken today by about 9,000 people. Literacy rate of its speakers in their own language is 10–30%.

Uripiv-Wala-Rano-Atchin forms a dialect chain. The Uripiv dialect is the most southerly of these and has 85% of its words in common with Atchin, the most northerly dialect. Uripiv is spoken on the north-east coast of Malakula.

The Uripiv dialect is one of the few documented languages that use the rare bilabial trill, a feature that is not found in the Atchin dialect.



Uripiv consonants[2]
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
plain lab.
voiceless p t k
prenasal ᵐb ᵐbʷ ⁿd ᵑɡ
Fricative β s
Nasal m n ŋ
Tap ɾ
Trill voiced r
prenasal ᵐʙ (ⁿᵈr)
Lateral l
Approximant w j
Atchin consonants[3]
Labial Alveolar Velar
plain lab.
Plosive voiceless p t k
prenasal ᵐb ᵐbʷ
Affricate ts
Fricative β s
Nasal m n ŋ
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant w


Uripiv vowels[2]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ø o
Open a
Atchin vowels[3]
Front Central Back
Close i ʉ u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid œ
Open a
  • Sounds /e, o, œ/ are heard as [ɛ, ɔ, ə] in unstressed closed-syllable position.[3]


  1. ^ Northeast Malakula at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Lynch, John (2020). The Phonological History of Uripiv, an Eastern Malakula Language. Language & Linguistics in Melanesia 38. pp. 10–37.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link) CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ a b c d Duhamel, Marie (2010). The Noun Phrase of Atchin: A language of Malakula Vanuatu (PDF). University of Auckland.

Further reading