Published September 29, 2018
This video was recorded in Vanuatu by Sarah Doyle and features Lehali speaker Anna. As of a 2007 census, there were only 250 speakers of Lehali. The language, also known as Teqel, is classified as a remote Oceanic language of the Eastern Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. It is primarily spoken along the west coast of Ureparapara Island in Vanuatu, where it exists alongside a related, neighboring language called Löyöp. Lehali's phonemic inventory includes ten vowels: /i ɪ ɛ æ ə a ɒ̝ ɔ ʊ u/. The island, locally named Noypēypay [nɔjpejˈpaj] in Lehali, and Aö [aˈø] in Löyöp, is home to three villages and a total population of roughly 440 people. Ureparapara also contains two coral stone sites known by the Lehali as nowon and votwos which serve as ceremonial platforms, and these have been proposed for inclusion among the World Heritage sites of UNESCO.