English Language in Papua New Guinea

English was introduced by traders and missionaries in the 19th century. Except in German New Guinea (1884-1914) it was the language of government and commerce throughout the colonial period. Since Independence, English has been one of the country’s three official languages and the main language of instruction. Most radio and television programs and newspapers are in English. Probably not more than 10 percent of the population is fluent in English, but a larger number has a limited acquaintance with simple spoken English.