Language of Palau

Palauan (also spelled Belauan) is one of the two nationally recognized official languages spoken in the Republic of Palau (the second being English). It is a member of the Austronesian family of languages, and is considered to be one of two languages in Micronesia (the second being Chamorro) belonging to the Western Malayo-Polynesian group, all others considered to be members of either the Micronesian or Polynesian outlier subgroups of Eastern Malayo-Polynesian.

Writing System – In the early 1970s, the Palau Orthography Committee worked with linguists from the University of Hawaii to devise a common writing system based on the Latin alphabet. The resulting orthography was largely based on the one sound/one symbol notion of the pre-Chomskyan structuralists, yielding an alphabet of ten native Palauan consonants (plus two double consonants), five consonants used exclusively in borrowed words, and five vowels (plus four double vowels). The 20 vowel sequences listed above under the heading Diphthongs are also all officially recognized in the orthography.

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