Ontong Java
Native toSolomon Islands
RegionOntong Java Atoll
Native speakers
2,400 (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ojv

Ontong Java (or Luangiua, Lord Howe, Luaniua) is a Polynesian language located on the Ontong Java Atoll, also known as the Luangiua Atoll or Lord Howe island, in the Solomon Islands. Two dialects, Luangiua and Pelau, are also spoken on the island. Ontong Java is commonly used by all speakers, young and old. There is approximately 2,370 residents[2] of Ontong Java Atoll and has approximately 2,400 (estimated) speakers living on the atoll.


Ontong Java is closely related to the Ellicean languages of Polynesia and to Sikaiana, Takuu, and Nukumanu in Papua New Guinea.[2]


The phoneme inventory of this language is poorly studied, and many sources have conflicting phoneme inventories.[3]: 226 [4]

Labial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m ŋ
Plosive p k ʔ
Fricative v s h
Lateral l[note 1]
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

An older source lists two additional vowels, /ɑ/ and /ə/.[4]


Ontong Java word order is normally VSO[2] and SVO.[6]


  1. ^ This source says there is one liquid consonant (r / l), but does not specify which one.


  1. ^ Ontong Java at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c "Ontong Java". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  3. ^ a b c Salmond, Anne (1974). A Generative Syntax of Luangiua: A Polynesian Language. The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton & Co. NV. pp. 256.
  4. ^ a b Lanyon-Orgill, Peter A. (1944). A Study of the Leuangiua Language. The Hague, Netherlands: Luzac & Co. p. 24.
  5. ^ Krupa, Viktor (1973). Polynesian Languages: A Survey of Research. The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton & Co. NV. pp. 108.
  6. ^ Tomlin, Russell S. (2014-02-03). Basic Word Order (RLE Linguistics B: Grammar): Functional Principles. Routledge. ISBN 9781317933793.

Further reading