Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world. With a population of over 9 million, the country is home to about 850 indigenous languages. The first human colonists introduced “Papuan” languages into the region about 40,000 years ago.
With the arrival of European colonists in the 19th century, English became widely spoken as well as two other official languages, Tok Pisin (creole) and Hiri Motu (simplified form of the Austronesian language, Motu). English remains a major threat to the other indigenous languages, as higher educational and professional opportunities in the country require fluency in English.