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Documentation of Ratsua (Autonomous Region of Bougainville, P.N.G.)


Language Ratsua
Depositor Stephen Logan
Affiliation University of Newcastle, Australia
Location Papua New Guinea
Collection ID 0306
Grant ID IGS0220
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection is the outcome of a language documentation project on Ratsua, previously identified as a dialect of Hahon, in order to determine its degree of differentiation from Hahon and its sociolinguistic status. The materials in this collection include audio and video recordings as well as transcriptions, translations and analyses.


Group represented

This collection represents members of the Ratsua community, living in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The Ratsua language is spoken in a very small area by only a few families.

The Ethnologue mentions Ratsua as a dialect of Hahon. However, the Ratsua variety mentioned in Ethnologue is not one of the three Hahon dialects found by Stephen Logan. Instead, Ratsua is regarded by Hahon speakers as a distinct language, which they find difficult or impossible to understand.
Community leaders have given permission for documentation work, and the community are enthusiastic about a project to record their language and culture.


Language information

Ratsua is a Northwest Solomonic Oceanic language, spoken in the northwest of the main island of Bougainville, at the northern extreme of the Hahon-speaking area. Ratsua was previously considered a dialect of Hahon (see the related Hahon collection at ELAR:, another endangered language of the island. Both Ratsua speakers and Hahon speakers consider Ratsua to be a separate language, distinct from Hahon.

Ratsua is spoken only by a few families and has about 15-20 speakers. Through intermarriage, speakers are bilingual with neighbouring languages, and the use of Tok Pisin is widespread. Ratsua is therefore an endangered language.

Ratsua has a typologically unusual noun class system and, in common with other Northwest Solomonic languages, it has subject-indexing verbal morphology which originated in a possessive construction (see Palmer 2011). Ratsua is in contact with other Northwest Solomonic languages, Tok Pisin and English.


Special characteristics


Collection contents

When completed, this collection will provide a rich set of data on language usage and sociocultural practices, including

  • four to five hours of audio and, where possible, video recordings of language in use in a variety of contexts, from a variety of speakers (age, gender, social status), targeting a range of genres from traditional narrative to informal conversation
  • a dialect survey
  • time-aligned transcriptions and translations in ELAN, with a preliminary analysis in Toolbox
  • for 25% of the recordings, detailed phonetic, phonological and morphological annotations
  • full metadata


Collection history

The materials in this collection were gathered during six weeks of fieldwork with the Ratsua community as of Stephen Logan’s PhD research supported by an Individual Graduate Scholarship from ELDP.


Other information

The materials in this collection will also be archived with PARADISEC. In addition, the materials will be presented to the SIL Buka Library (Bougainville, PNG), Arawa Library (Bougainville, PNG) and the National Research Institute (Port Moresby, PNG).


Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Logan, Stephen. 2013. Documentation of Ratsua (Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea). Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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