Lewo is a member of the Southern Oceanic branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. It is spoken by about 2,200 people on Epi Island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu

Lewo is also known as Varsu or Laewo. Dialects include Tasiko, Maluba and Lemaroro. Other dialects were spoken in the past, and have been documented, but are no longer spoken. It is closely related to Lamen, which is also spoken on Epi Island.

Lewo was first appeared in writing in the late 19th century, when parts of the Bible and a hymnal were translated in Lewo. Various spelling systems using the Latin alphabet have been used for the language. The orthography used in the alphabet chart below comes from Robert Early's A grammar of Lewo, Vanuatu.

Lewo alphabet and pronunciation

Lewo alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Lewo (Excel)

Sample text

Suni-ena nene na na manu la-lua. Manu la-lua nap̃a na tai na kie-na kia lom̃e, tai na kie-na kia vio. Ana p̃esa-ni-a na vio na naga na manu na ura a lome na manu na lo-si. Yoko na pog tai narui na la-lua a-su-m̃a-ga-a, ana la-lua napa na a-kla ka-la lo-kove la-p̃asia na a-mapila yuwi sike e-a.


This story is about two birds. These two birds, one, it's name was dove, the other, it's name was heron. Now at first, Heron was a bird of the bush, and Dove was a bird of the seashore. Then one time the two of them were there, now they made some gardens of theirs and they planted yams in them

Source: A grammar of Lewo, Vanuatu, by Robet Early

Sample of videos in Lewo

Information about Lewo | Numbers


Information about Lewo

Oceanic languages

Adzera, Ahamb, Äiwoo, Aneityum, Apma, Araki, Are, ’Auhelawa, Avava, Babatana, Bariai, Bola, Big Numbas, Buhutu, Bwaidoka, Caac, Cheke Holo, Dorig, Hiri Motu, Hiw, Hoava, Kakabai, Kaninuwa, Kokota, Kove, Kurti, Lakon, Lehali, Lenakel, Lewo, Lote, Lo-Toga, Löyöp, Marovo, Maskelynes, Mato, Mavea, Mono-Alu, Motu, Mussau-Emira, Mwotlap, Nafsan, Nahavaq, Namakura, Nanggu, Nduke, Neve‘ei, Neverver, Ninde, North Efate, Nume, Paamese, Raga, Rotuman, Roviana, Sa, Sakao, Saliba, Siar, Sio, Ske, Tamambo, Tami, Teanu, Tigak, Tirax, Tolai, Touo, Ubir, Ughele, Uneapa, Vatlongos, Vitu, Vurës, Western Fijian, Yabem, Yapese

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page created: 19.04.23. Last modified: 09.05.23


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