Lihir language

Region Lihir Island, off New Ireland
Native speakers
13,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lih
Glottolog lihi1237[2]

The Lihir language is an Austronesian language spoken in the Lihir island group, in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. It is notable for having 5 levels of grammatical number: singular, dual, trial, paucal and plural.[3] It is questionable whether the trial is indeed trial or whether it is paucal, leaving there being a paucal and a greater paucal.[3] Either way, this is the highest number of levels of grammatical number in any language.[3] This distinction appears in both independent pronouns and possessor suffixes.[3] There is some variation in pronunciation and orthography between the main island Niolam, and some of the smaller islands in the group.


  1. Lihir at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lihir". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Corbett, Greville G. (2000). Number. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics. Cambridge University Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780521649704. Retrieved 2010-05-26.

External links

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