Hiri Motu

Hiri Motu is a simplified form of the Motu language which was used in the hiri trading expeditions and adopted by European traders and colonial officials to communicate with the people of the central Papuan coast. It is also known as Police Motu because, from about 1890, it was spread by patrol officers and their native police. It became the unofficial language of administration throughout much of Papua during the colonial period. Since Independence in 1975 it has been one of PNG’s three official languages; it is still used in some radio broadcasts and very occasionally in parliamentary debates. Hiri Motu is being replaced by Tok Pisin.

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