Unserdeutsch language

Native to Papua New Guinea
Native speakers
~100 (2015)[1]
German-based creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3 uln
Glottolog unse1236[2]

Unserdeutsch ("Our German"), or Rabaul Creole German, is a German-based creole language that originated in Papua New Guinea. It was formed among the New Guinean children residing in a German-run orphanage in what was then German New Guinea. About 100 native speakers survive today, most of whom migrated to Australia after Papua New Guinea's independence in 1975.[1]

Most speakers of Unserdeutsch are bilingual; speaking either Standard German, English, Tok Pisin or Kuanua. Most speakers are middle-aged or older, although younger members of the community may comprehend the language. The descendant of a pidginised form of Standard German which originated in the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain during German colonial times among the Catholic mixed-race (Vunapope) community. With increased mobility and intermarriage, it has been disappearing in the last few decades.

Unserdeutsch presumably influenced the development of its neighbour, Tok Pisin. Unlike Namibian Black German in Namibia, it is a creole; indeed, it is the only creole that developed from colonial German.[3]


  1. 1 2 Unserdeutsch, Special Broadcasting Service, 16 March 2016
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Unserdeutsch". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. John Holm, 1989, Pidgins and Creoles, vol. 2: Reference Survey

Further reading

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