Both Marshallese and English are the official languages of the Marshall Islands . Marshallese belongs to the Austronesian Language Family, the most geographically widespread language family in the world. Of the Austronesian languages, Marshallese is a member of the Malayo Polynesian group, a group which contains 880 different languages. In the Marshalls , two major dialects have emerged, one in the Ralik chain and one in the Ratak chain of atolls. The differences between the two dialects is minor.
Rainbows are a common sight in Majuro. Local legend tells that the expression "iaKwe!" (You are a rainbow) once developed into the traditional Marshallese greeting, "Iokwe yuk," which means "Love to You." You can find other pronunciations in our basic Marshallese phrasebook .
A formal linguistic classification of Marshallese is as follows: