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Futunan (Fakafutuna)

Futunan (or Futunian) is a Polynesian language, spoken by about 5,000 people on the islands of Futuna and Alofi, which are part of the French territory of Wallis and Futuna in the South-West Pacific Ocean, and by an almost equal number of Futunan migrants in New Caledonia and elsewhere in the francophone Pacific. The language is also called East Futunan in order to distinguish it from West Futunan, which is spoken on the Polynesian outliers of West Futuna and Aniwa in Vanuatu.

Linguistic lineage

The linguistic lineage for Futunan is: Polynesian, Nuclear Polynesian, Samoic-Outlier, Futunic. Futunan is not mutually intelligible with the language of Wallis, the third island in the territory (also known as Uvea).

Vowel inventory

The vowel inventory of Futunan consists of the five "cardinal" vowels and is similar to most other Polynesian languages in that respect. These vowels have approximately Spanish values and also occur geminated.

Consonant inventory

The consonant inventory consists of eleven consonants as listed below and is one of the larger ones in Polynesia (Tongan exhibits the maximium with twelve segments).

Syllable structure

The Futunan syllable structure may be summarised as follows: (C)V(V), i.e.: (an optional consonant, followed by an) obligatory vowel (or geminated vowel).

Full and partial reduplication as well as prefixes and suffixes are used extensively for word formation and the expression of various grammatical and semantic categories. The causative prefix is faka-.

Futunan alphabet and pronunciation

Futunan alphabet and pronunciation

Samples phrases in Futunan

The information on this page comes from Emanuel Fuchs, a linguist from Vienna, Austria.

Tower of Babel in Futunan


Information about the Futunan language

Futunan dictionaries

Malayo-Polynesian languages

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet