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Languages of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is said to be linguistically, the most diverse nation in the world with over 800 indigenous languages spoken. According to some estimates, there are about 6,800 languages spoken on earth. Language is a crucial component of our diverse human survival systems and mechanisms. The US National Virtual Translation Centre lists PNG, top of the list of countries with the most languages.

Papua New Guinea 832
Indonesia 731
Nigeria 515
India 400
Mexico 295
Cameroon 286
Australia 268
Brazil 234

But many of Papua New Guinea's languages and the cultural practices which are the sources of these languages are endangered or have become restricted by a myriad of internal as well as external forces. Languages are slowly disappearing and many have disappeared altogether.

There is also a dangerous linguistic trend especially by bible translators who, while they are doing a great job, have also shown a tendency to morph neighbouring languages into single language groups for their own efficacious considerations and purposes.

This practice may also lead to a more rapid demise of the basilects - the least prestigious varieties of language in an area or region. The presence of a linguist and their association with either a basilect or an acrolect, (most prestigious language variety) may perhaps have an undue influence over the natural power relationships between fragile cultural entities and may lead to a "cultural favouring" and the rise of new acrolects. Even worse is the possibility that we may have a linguist's creation of blends between two or more languages within a "cultural region" who then become widely accepted as a single language group.

Papua New Guinea itself does not have the resources or existing linguistic programmes that work to create its own databasing of language groups. So it has to rely on bible translators and visiting linguists who are there on their own academic and strategic projects to provide much needed information and data about its peoples' languages.

There are three official languages in Papua New Guinea: English, Tok Pisin and Motu. Tok Pisin was the lingua franca of the former German New Guinea and Motu was the lingua franca of British New Guinea.
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