Documentation of Fakamae, a Polynesian Outlier of Vanuatu

Documentation of Fakamae, a Polynesian Outlier of Vanuatu

Language: Fakamae (ISO639-3:mmw)
Depositor: Amy Dewar
Location: Vanuatu
Deposit Id: 0487
ELDP Id: MDP0369
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit

The language of Fakamae is spoken on the island of Fakamae in Shefa province, Vanuatu. Fakamae has approximately 400 speakers, amongst a small island population of around 800. These speakers are found mainly in the villages of Makatea and Tongamea, on the western side of the island. The language holds a significant position within the approximately 138 languages of Vanuatu, being one of only three Polynesian outlier languages in the country. Speakers of these languages arrived in Vanuatu from their eastern Polynesian homeland some time in the last millenium, unlike their neighbouring languages which developed within Vanuatu.

Fakamae is threatened by a number of factors. The national language of Bislama is increasingly influential as a result of close contact with urban communities, and the more widely spoken Vanuatu languages of Namakir and Nakanamanga are also increasingly spoken on Fakamae.

Group represented

This deposit will include contributions from Fakamae speakers on the island of Fakamae, and in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila. Data collection will focus on the villages of Makatea and Tongamae in Fakamae, as these are the two key sites at which the Fakamae speaking community is strongest.

Language information
A Polynesian Outlier spoken on the island of Fakamae, Vanuatu

Special characteristics

Fakamae speakers are aware of the unique position their language holds within Vanuatu, and are proud of its Polynesian heritage. The community is eager to collaborate in the documentation process.

Deposit contents

There are currently no bundles in this deposit, as data collection is due to begin in 2018. This deposit will include spontaneous speech and elicitation. The majority of the recordings will be in video format. Some of these recordings will be transcribed, translated and annotated to create a written corpus of the Fakamae language.

Deposit history

The data for this collection will be collected during the doctoral research of Amy Dewar. It will be collected over a three year period from 2018 to 2020.

Other information

The Fakamae language is referred to in literature as Fakamae or Mae, however speakers refer to their language as Fakamae.


Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Amy Dewar as researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by name. Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.


Resources yet to be deposited


Amy Dewar
Affiliation: The University of Newcastle

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2018 July 19 to 2018 July 19
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics

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