Lost in translation: Papua New Guinea wins the language Olympics 譯海茫茫:巴布亞紐幾內亞摘下語言奧林匹克冠軍






With 841 living tongues and a creole lingua franca, Pacific nation Papua New Guinea is the undisputed world champion of linguistic diversity.




The country is a linguist’s paradise with one in 10 of the world’s languages found here. The number of speakers of individual languages can range from a handful of people in the jungle to millions spread across provinces and terrains.




Experts point to the country’s relatively weak central government, deep valleys, almost impenetrable vegetation and roughly 600 islands to explain why it has such a bounty of languages.




Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu and English are the country’s three official languages. Papua New Guineans typically speak three to five languages, and understand many more dialects.




In fact, Tok Pisin is something of a linguistic sponge, soaking up words from languages as distant as Taiwanese and Zulu.



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