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The Polynesian languages are a language family spoken in geographical Polynesia and on a patchwork of "Outliers" from south central Micronesia, to small islands off the northeast of the larger islands of the Southeast Solomon Islands and sprinkled through Vanuatu. They are classified as part of the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanic branch of that family. Polynesians share many unique cultural traits that resulted from about 1000 years of common development, including common linguistic development, in the Tonga and Sāmoa area through most of the first millennium BC.

There are approximately forty Polynesian languages. The most prominent of these are Tahitian, Sāmoan, Tongan, Māori and Hawaiian. Because the Polynesian islands were settled relatively recently and because internal linguistic diversification only began around 2,000 years ago, their languages retain strong commonalities. There are still many cognate words across the different islands e.g. tapu, ariki, motu, kava (Kava culture), and tapa as well as Hawaiki, the mythical homeland for some of the cultures.

All Polynesian languages show strong similarity, particularly in vocabulary. The vowels are often stable in the descendant languages, nearly always a, e, i, o and u. The legendary homeland of the Māori of New Zealand, where w is used instead of v, is called Hawaiki; in the Cook Islands, where h is replaced with the glottal stop, it is ‘Avaiki; in the Hawaiian Islands, where w is used and k is replaced with the glottal stop, the largest island of the group is named Hawai‘i; in Sāmoa, where s has not been replaced by h, v is used instead of w, and k is replaced with the glottal stop, the largest island is called Savai'i. In the Society Islands, k and ng are replaced by the glottal stop, so the name for the ancestral homeland is pronounced Havai‘i.<ref name=buckh>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>


Polynesian languages sections
Intro  Languages   Personal pronouns  Orthography  See also  Notes  Further reading  References  External links  

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