Published December 29, 2017
This video was recorded by Sarah Doyle on the island of Vanua Lava in Torba Province, Vanuatu, where Betsy lives. Vurës is spoken by as many as 2,000 people, primarily on Vanua Lava, where it is one of two primary languages. The other language, Mwesen, shares a high degree of mutually intelligibility with Vurës, so much so that the two are often considered dialects of a single Vüres-Mwesen language. Together, Vurës and Mwesen are members of the Austronesian family of languages, relating them to the mother tongues of communities throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from Madagascar to Hawaii. Despite an absence of political recognition or native language media, a standard Vurës grammar has been published under the guidance of Dr. Catriona Malau, a linguist at Newcastle University.