Published August 15, 2018
This video was recorded by Teddy Nee in Taoyuan City, Taiwan and features speaker Siro Temaki. Nauruan was spoken on the island of Nauru by roughly 6,000 speakers as of a 1991 census and that number continues to decrease. Nauruan is an Oceanic Micronesian language, part of the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup that belongs to the Austronesian language family. Its relationship to the other Micronesian languages is not well understood. Influences in the writing system have been demonstrated most notably from German, Tok Pisin, and Kiribati, particularly affecting its vowel system. Attempts were made in 1938 to reform Nauruan writing to better reflect the diversity of its vowel sounds using diacritics (Nauruan was originally written with only five vowels), and this was achieved with limited success. The German colonization of Nauru in 1888 has had significant impact on the Nauruan speaking communities, reducing their dialectical variety and resulting in increasing standardization of the language through the publication of dictionaries and other texts.