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The Micronesian languages are descended from the Austronesian language group. The most important indigenous languages are: Marshallese on the Marshall Islands, Palauan on Palau, Chamorro on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Gilbertees on Kiribati and Nauru on Nauru. There are also many languages and dialects on the remote islands, sometimes spoken by as few as a hundred people.

The major languages developed independently of each other and are therefore completely different. English is spoken throughout Micronesia but often only serves as a means of communication between the different states. On each individual island, the use of their own language dominates. Nauruan is a mix of Polynesian and Micronesian. Some German words resonate and English numbers are used in counting. Many government documents are in English and most Nauruans are therefore bilingual.


Galbraith, K. / Micronesia
Lonely Planet

Levy, N.M. / Micronesia handbook Moon

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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