Materials in Northwest Solmonic languages (Solomon Islands and Bougainville)
Researchers: Bill Palmer
The Northwest Solomonic (NWS) network is a subgroup of languages within the Oceanic branch of the Austronesian family. Austronesian is the geographically most widely spoken language family apart from Indo-European, reaching from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand in the south, from Madagascar in the west to Easter Island in the east. It includes all the indigenous languages of Polynesia, Micronesia and the Philippines, as well as most of the languages of island and coastal Melanesia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and several languages in Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China.
The Oceanic branch covers the eastern half of this domain, including most of Micronesia, and all of Polynesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and the Austronesian languages of coastal and island Papua New Guinea.
Within Oceanic, several first-order subgroups have been identified. One, Western Oceanic, is a loose grouping that includes (among others) the Meso-Melanesian linkage, a group of languages spoken in New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville, and the western half of the Solomon Islands. Within Meso-Melanesian the New Ireland/Northwest Solomonic linkage contains several smaller groups, one of which is Northwest Solomonic, a linkage or network of languages spoken in Bougainville and Buka (in Papua New Guinea), and in Santa Isabel, Choiseul and the New Georgia group (in the Solomon Islands).
Northwest Solomonic consists of five or possibly six subgroups:
- The Nehan/North Bougainville network
- Piva and Banoni
- New Georgia
It is likely (but not yet certain) that the New Georgia and Isabel subgroups combine at some level to form a single first-order subgroup of Northwest Solomonic.