Young Pioneer Tours

What language do they speak in Nauru?

Introduction

What languages do they speak in Nauru? In short the two official languages of Nauru are English and Nauruan, there is also a sizable Chinese minority who speak both Mandarin and Cantonese.

Nauru English

With Australia being the nearest global power and a number of Nauruans being educated there, the accent in Nauru tends to be very Australian. Nauru also follow Australian English.

Pretty much everyone in Nauru speaks English and you do not need to learn Nauruan to visit the country.

Nauruan language

Nauruan or Nauru is believed be a Micronesian related language, although the links are not well documented. It is spoken natively by roughly 6000 people.

Useful Nauru phrases

  • Nauruan – English
  • Anubumin – Night
  • Aran – Day
  • Bagadugu – Ancestors
  • (E)kamawir Omo – Best wishes
  • Ebok – Water
  • Firmament – Earth; celestial sphere
  • Gott – God
  • Ianweron – Heaven
  • Iao – Light
  • Iow – Peace
  • Itur – Darkness
  • Orig – Beginning
  • Tarawong (ka) – Goodbye

Writing system in Nauru

The language of Nauru uses the Latin script which originally incorporated the following 17 letters:

The five vowels: a, e, i, o, u

Twelve consonants: b, d, g, j, k, m, n, p, q, r, t, w

With the influence of foreign languages, specifically German, English and Kiribati the language now incorporates the following 29 letters:

    Vowels: a, â, e, i, o, ô, u, û

    Semivowels: j

    Consonants: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, p, q, r, s, š, t, w, y, z

Dialects of the Nauru language

Prior to German colonisation there were a variety of dialects spoken in Nauru, but these have now morphed into standard Nauruan and the dialect of Yaren, the titular “capital” of the country.

Chinese in Nauru

Around 10% of the population of Nauru are Chinese immigrants who run approximately 14 Chinese restaurants and numerous stores on the island, most of them speak English, but if you speak Chinese it comes in very useful in Nauru!

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