Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Meso Melanesian
In 2013: 106 L1 (first-language) or fluent speakers; 55 L2 (second-language) or 'semi' speakers; 136 people who had some passive understanding of Papapana. Of the L2 speakers, 8 are children under 20, 46 are young adults between 20 and 40, and 1 is an older adult in their 40s. Of the passive speakers, 55 are children under 20, 78 are young adults 20-40, and 1 is an older adult in their 60s.
"Papapana is listed as having 100 speakers in 1963 (Oliver 1973: 188), 150 speakers in 1977 (Wurm 2012) and more recently 120 speakers (Lewis et al. 2014). I am not sure how accurate these figures are and whether they were taken from just one Papapana-speaking village, or from all the villages. Without accurate figures I cannot say whether there has been a decline or at what pace. Certainly from what community members tell me, the villages used to have larger populations and there used to be much less intermarriage, so presumably speaker numbers have decreased a lot. Papapana has always been a small minority language though compared with other languages in the area. Intergenerational transmission has ceased (except for one family where the two children speak Papapana as L1) so unless that changes, I would say speaker numbers will decline steadily over the next fifty years as the current adult population dies. Only one couple make a concerted effort to speak and teach Papapana to their two boys. Some parents might try to transmit but children respond in Tok Pisin."
"[Papapana is used] around the villages among Papapana speakers, or between Papapana speakers if they are out and about. In church very occasionally there are songs in Papapana. At school in year 1 only, Papapana is taught like a L2 (second language) for an hour a day. Sometimes also used for numbers and objects in maths or science classes in year 1."
The language is under pressure from large related languages such as Vasui (or Tinputz) and of Tok Pisin.
North Solomons Province. Spoken on the northern part of the east coast of Bougainville Island.