By Elizabeth Pearce

This publication describes the Unua language of Malakula, Vanuatu. The island of Malakula is understood to have, or to have had, a complete of approximately forty designated languages of which fewer than part were defined. The seven-hundred or so audio system of Unua also are fluent audio system of Bislama and the domain names of use for Unua have gotten extra constrained. Unua is therefore endangered and the documentation of the language in its current shape is especially well timed.

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Although schooling in Vanuatu is traditionally conducted in English or French, for adults, only the small numbers who have had some secondary school education have maintained degrees of fluency in either one of these languages, of which there would be only a handful in the Unua area with competency in French. The economy of the area is basically a subsistence one, but with some cash income derived mostly from the sale of copra and of cacao beans and from some trading in kava. Although Unua is a coastal settlement, it is the land, rather than the sea, that is the most important source of food.

Although Unua is a coastal settlement, it is the land, rather than the sea, that is the most important source of food. Vegetable foods, especially root vegetables, are cultivated in family-owned gardens which also provide many fruits and nuts, along with the variety of tree and plant products used in the construction and embellishment of houses. There are also chickens and pigs, some goats and, in one area, some farmed cattle. There is too some hunting of wild cattle and pigs in the hills beyond the immediate settlement area.

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