Published August 30, 2018
This video was recorded by Sarah Meltzoff in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands, and features To'abaita speaker Michael Kaura. As of 1999, there were around 12,600 people speaking To'abaita according to SIL. To'abaita, also known as Toqabaqita, is a Malayo-Polynesian language within the Austronesian language family and is spoken on the northwestern edge of Malaita in the South Eastern Solomon Islands. There is some debate about dialects within the North Malaita grouping -- specifically, whether To'abaita, Baeguu, Baelelea, Fataleka, and potentially Lau are all dialects of the same language. Ethnologue is silent on the matter of dialects but agrees that languages within this grouping are mutually intelligible. Most importantly, the To'abaita people themselves do not consider their language to be a dialect belonging to a larger language known as North Malaita. Most speakers are also bilingual in Pijin and speak some English, which is the language of education; the Latin script is typically used in writing. The Malaitan people share many cultural traditions such as panpipe ensembles and dances emulating movements of fish and boats, important aspects of Malaitan culture.