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Yapese language: Wikis


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Spoken in Federated States of Micronesia
Region Island of Yap
Total speakers 6,600
Language family Austronesian
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 yap
ISO 639-3 yap

Yapese is a language spoken by 6,600 people on the island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia).

It belongs to the Austronesian languages, more specifically to the Oceanic languages. It has been suggested that Yapese may be one of the Admiralty Island languages, though Ethnologue lists it as a language isolate within the Oceanic languages.

The glottal stop is a leading feature of Yapese. Words beginning with a vowel letter (with a few grammatical exceptions) begin with a glottal stop. Adjacent vowels have the glottal stop between them. There are many word-final glottal stops.

Written Yapese uses Latin script. In Yapese spelling as practised until the 1970s, the glottal stop was not written with an explicit character. A word-final glottal stop was represented by doubling the final vowel letter. Glottalisation of consonants was represented with an apostrophe. In the 1970s an orthography was created which uses double vowel letters to represent long vowels; and because of the ambiguity that would occur if the glottal stop was not written, the glottal stop was written with the letter 'q'. This new orthography using the letter 'q' is not universally in use, but many works and maps about Yap represent place names using the orthography and contain amounts of the letter 'q' that are likely to be puzzling to persons not familiar with the language and the new orthography.

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