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Motu language resources

Motu is spoken on a daily basis in: Papua New Guinea Motu--> --> --> -->

Additional background on Motu

The Motu language is one of many Central Papuan languages spoken by the Motuans, native habitants of Papua New Guinea. It is still common today in the region, particularly around the capital, Port Moresby.

A simplified form of Motu developed as a trade language in the Papuan region, in the South-East of the main island of New Guinea, originally known as Police Motu, and today known as Hiri Motu. After Tok Pisin and English, this form of it is the third most commonly spoken language of the more than 800 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.

Motu is classified as one of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, and bears some linguistic similarities to the both Polynesian languages and Micronesian languages.

Motu itself is a language that is heavily vowel-based. Most words have as many vowels as consonants, and a significant number of words have more vowels than consonants. However since there are only five vowel sounds, it is relatively easy to enunciate (compared to English). The many diphthongs are simply combinations of the basic vowels. There are only sixteen consonants, only one of which is foreign to English. These are b, d, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w and the velar fricative usually written as ?. All are pronounced approximately as in English except r which is a "flipped" r,(?), and the velar fricative. The letter "w" is used only in combination with "g" or "k" as "gw" or "kw", never alone.


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