The voice of our ancestors

In Dinima Sibanange, a village located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we speak Slamselme, one of the country’s 826 languages. Majority of them are Papuan dialects (78%). Papua New Guinea is the most multilingual country in the world, and Papuans represent a population of 7.3 million. With an average of 9,100 speakers per language, it is quite difficult to communicate, but local communities have until now strived to preserve this ancestral heritage, to be able to differentiate themselves from other ones. Most widespread languages ​​are spoken within the Highlands by almost a third of the population, and 80% of languages ​​have fewer than 5,000 speakers, while 30% have fewer than 500. Several languages ​​are already recognized as moribund or endangered. This is the case in the Mr UBA’s village in the heart of the Tabare community, where Kipmakapma and Kebai are also spoken. This old man is worried about the lack of attraction that preserving his language represents for young generation of his community. They speak Pok Pidjin or English on a daily basis, and just dream about leaving villages to reach the cities. Mr Uba is not very optimistic about the future of this local cultural heritage…

Geographical areas
Oceania | Papua New Guinea
Culture | Education | Migration | Transfer of knowledge
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