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Polynesian languages

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Polynesian languages
Ethnicity:Polynesian people
Polynesia, with outliers in Melanesia and Micronesia
Linguistic classification:Austronesian

The Polynesian languages are a group of languages spoken in Oceania. They all belong in the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages. They are mostly spoken in Polynesia, but some are spoken in nearby Melanesia and Micronesia.

There are around 30-40 Polynesian languages, with Samoan having the most speakers.[1] Other well-known Polynesian languages include Māori, Tongan, Hawaiian and Tahitian.


The Polynesian languages formed when Austronesians in New Caledonia (the Lapita culture) started moving to other parts of Oceania.[2] Navigation of Oceania continued until 1300AD, with the discovery of New Zealand (Aotearoa) by the Māori people.[3]

Today, there are over 2 million Polynesians, although speakers of Polynesian languages number far less due to historical reasons such as disease and colonialism.[4]

Sound changes

Throughout the Polynesian languages, many sound changes occur. They mainly exist in consonants. For example, Samoan "f" corresponds to Hawaiian "h".

Hawaiian hale - Samoan fale (house)

Hawaiian aloha - Samoan talofa (hello)

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