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Vitu language

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Title: Vitu language  
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Subject: Meso-Melanesian languages, Witu, Vitu, Witu language, Uneapa language
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Vitu language

Native to Papua New Guinea
Native speakers
8,800  (1991)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wiv
Glottolog mudu1242[2]

Vitu (also spelled Witu or Vittu) or Muduapa is an Oceanic language spoken by about 7,000 people on the islands northwest of the coast of West New Britain in Papua New Guinea.


Vitu is so closely related to the neighbouring Bali language that the two are sometimes considered to be a single language, called Bali–Vitu.

Vitu and Bali appear to be members of a Meso-Melanesian cluster of the Oceanic languages.



Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a


Bilabial Dental Coronal Velar
Stop Voiceless p t k
Prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ
Fricative Voiceless (s)
Voiced β ð ɣ
Nasal m n ŋ
Lateral l
Rhotic r

/t/ is realized as [tʃ] before /i/.

/s/ occurs only in loanwords from Tok Pisin, such as sikul "school".


No consonant clusters or final consonants are allowed in native Vitu words: all syllables have a CV or V structure. Loanwords, however, may have different structures.

Writing system

Vitu is written in the Latin script. Only between 15% and 25% of speakers of Vitu are literate in the language, but many more are literate in Tok Pisin, the national language of Papua New Guinea.
A a B b D d E e G g H h I i K k L l M m
/a/ /ᵐb/ /ⁿd/ /e/ /ᵑɡ/ /ɣ/ /i/ /k/ /l/ /m/
N n Ng ng O o P p R r S s T t U u V v Z z
/n/ /ŋ/ /o/ /p/ /r/ /s/ /t/ /u/ /β/ /ð/



Complex voice systems so characteristic of Austronesian languages of Taiwan and the Philippines undergo significant reduction in most Austronesian languages of Eastern Indonesia and Oceania. Vitu is unusual in terms of morphology when compared to most other Oceanic languages spoken in Melanesia. It is one of very few Melanesian languages that have a passive voice-marking system.


The usual word order of Vitu is SVO.


  1. ^ Vitu at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Muduapa". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Ross, Malcolm D. (2002). "Bali–Vitu". In John Lynch, Malcolm Ross, Terry Crowley, eds. The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. pp. 362–386. ISBN . OCLC 48929366. 
  • Van den Berg, René; Peter Bachet (June 2006). "Retained and Introduced Final Consonants in Vitu". Oceanic Linguistics 45 (1): 43–52. OCLC 89063907. doi:10.1353/ol.2006.0001. 
  • Van den Berg, René (June 2007). "An Unusual Passive in Western Oceanic: The Case of Vitu". Oceanic Linguistics 46 (1): 54–70. doi:10.1353/ol.2007.0027. 

External links

  • Vitu organised phonology data
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