Rotokas is a North Bougainville language spoken by about 4,320 people on the island of Bougainville, an island located to the east of New Guinea, which is part of Papua New Guinea. According to Allen and Hurd (1963), there are three identified dialects: Central Rotokas ("Rotokas Proper"), Aita Rotokas, and Pipipaia; with a further dialect spoken in Atsilima (Atsinima) village with an unclear status. Central Rotokas is most notable for its extremely small phonemic inventory and for having perhaps the smallest modern alphabet.
The Central dialect of Rotokas possesses one of the world's smallest phoneme inventories. (Only the Pirahã language has been claimed to have fewer.) The alphabet consists of twelve letters, representing eleven phonemes. Rotokas has a vowel-length distinction (that is, all vowels have a short and long counterpart) but otherwise lacks distinctive suprasegmental features such as contrastive tone or stress.
The consonant invento