12% of the world’s total languages are found in Papua New Guinea, which has over 820 indigenous languages. There are more languages on this island than in any other country.
Papua New Guinea is an Oceanian country, occupying the eastern half of the New Guinea Island. It established its sovereignty in 1975 after 60 years of Australian administration. The country, including its islands, covers an area of approximately 178,704 square miles and has a population of about 7 million people. Papua Guinea is a culturally diverse country, boasting of 856 known languages, with 12 languages having no known living speakers. It is the most linguistically diverse country in the world, accounting for 12% of the world’s total languages.
However, most of the languages have less than 1,000 speakers, with the most popular language spoken by approximately 200,000 people. There are over 820 indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. The Indigenous languages are classified into two categories Austronesia and non-Austronesia languages.
Papua New Guinea adopted four official languages after independence. These official languages are English, Tok, sign language, and Hiri Motu. Of the four official languages, Tok Pisin is the most frequently used language for business and government activities. At least two official languages are used in most of the institutions around the country. The official languages are used to promote unity and enhance communication in the country. Despite adopting only 4 out of the over 850 languages as the official languages, the lack of state recognition has not quashed the other languages.