Documentation and Description of Lakuramau

Documentation and Description of Lakuramau

Language: Lakuramau
Depositor: Lidia Federica Mazzitelli
Location: Papua New Guinea
Deposit Id: 0475
ELDP Id: IPF0270
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
Lakuramau is an Austronesian language, belonging to the Meso-Melanesian subdivision of Western Oceanic. It is spoken by ca. 1500 speakers in only one village situated on the East Coast of New Ireland, the second-largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago, western of New Guinea. Due to the pressure of Tok Pisin, the vernacular language in Papua New Guinea, the number of fluent speakers is rapidly sinking and the language is at risk of dying out in the next few decades. The deposit presents a collection of narrative texts, spontaneous dialogues, grammatical elicitations and grammatical notes.

Group represented
The speakers represented in the deposit are all dwellers of the Lakuramau village. Lakuramau is situated on the East Coast of New Ireland, the second-largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, in Papua New Guinea. Most people in Lakuramau are employed at the nearby oil palm plantations, either with clerical jobs in offices or as workers in the field. Gardening and fishing are also an important source of income for the villagers. The social structure of Lakuramau people is based on clan membership and it has a complex system of taboo regulations, aimed at preventing incest (understood as marriage between members of the same clan). The community is characterised by a high level of multilingualism. Traditionally, Lakuramau speakers were also fluent in Nalik and Kara, which they used in the relationship with their neighbours. The latter would usually not learn Lakuramau, as they deem it to be a “very difficult” and "unintellegible" language. Nowadays, even if knowledge of Nalik and Kara is still diffused in Lakuramau, communication with Nalik and Kara speakers takes place more and more often in Tok Pisin. Some Lakuramau speakers are also fluent in Papua New Guinea English. Children have a limited competence in Lakuramau: very often, they are fluent only in Tok Pisin, and have a good passive knowledge but scarce active knowledge of Lakuramau.

Language information
Lakuramau belongs to the Meso-Melanesian group of the Austronesian family, and it is spoken by approximately 1,500 people in only one village, Lakuramau, in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. So far, Lakuramau has only been briefly mentioned in descriptions of the New Ireland languages, and it has been defined as a “transitional dialect” or a “transitional language” between the neighbouring Nalik (ISO: nal) and Kara (ISO: leu). The speakers of Lakuramau are very proud of their language, though, and they love to underline its being different from Kara and Nalik.

Special characteristics

Deposit contents

Deposit history

Other information



Resources yet to be deposited


Lidia Federica Mazzitelli
Affiliation: University of Cologne

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2017 September 20 to 2017 September 20
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics

No items to display.