Santa Cruz
Native toSolomon Islands
RegionSanta Cruz Islands, Eastern Solomons.
Native speakers
(5,900 cited 1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
ntu – Natügu
nlz – Nalögo
npx – Noipx
Coordinates: 10°40′S 165°50′E / 10.667°S 165.833°E / -10.667; 165.833
A Natügu speaker, recorded in the Solomon Islands.

The Santa Cruz language (locally known as Natügu) is the main language spoken on the island of Nendö or 'Santa Cruz', in the Solomon Islands.


The name Natügu means "our language" (natü "language, word" + -gu "1st + 2nd person plural suffix").

Genetic affiliation

It was widely believed until recently that Santa Cruz was a Papuan language. Like the rest of the Reefs – Santa Cruz languages, however, it has been shown to be a member of the Austronesian language family.[2]


Dialects are Bënwë (Banua), Londai, Malo, Nea, Nooli. Speakers of most dialects understand Lwowa and Mbanua well. The Nea and Nooli dialects are the most divergent, actually a separate language (Nalögo).



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
plain round pal. plain round pal. plain round pal.
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
Nasal m n ŋ ŋʷ
Fricative v s
Approximant l j w

Voiced stops can also be heard as prenasalized.[3]


Oral vowels
Front Central Back
Close i ʉ u
Close-mid e ɵ o
Near-open æ ə ɔ
Open a
Nasal vowels
Front Central Back
Close ũ
Close-mid ɵ̃ õ
Near-open æ̃ ə̃ ɔ̃
Open ã


  1. ^ Natügu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Nalögo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Noipx at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Næss, Åshild and Brenda H. Boerger (2008). "Reefs – Santa Cruz as Oceanic: Evidence from the Verb Complex". Oceanic Linguistics. 47: 185–212. doi:10.1353/ol.0.0000. hdl:1959.13/1052427.
  3. ^ Boerger, B. H. (2012). Sociological factors in Reefs-Santa Cruz language vitality: a 40 year retrospective. Walter de Gruyter.