Kambera language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
East Sumbanese
Native to Indonesia
Region Lesser Sunda Islands
Native speakers
240,000  (2009)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xbr
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Kambera /mæləˈɡæsi/,[2] also known as (East) Sumbanese, is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia. Kambera is a member of Bima-Sumba subgrouping within Central Malayo-Polynesian inside Malayo-Polynesian.[3] The island of Sumba, located in the Eastern Indonesia, has an area of 12,297 km2.[4] The name Kambera comes from a traditional region which is close to a town in Waingapu. Because of export trades which concentrated in Waingapu in the 19th century, the language of the Kambera region has become the bridging language in eastern Sumba.



Front Back
High i iː u uː
Mid e ai o au
Low a,

The diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ function phonologically as the long counterparts to /e/ and /o/, respectively.


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop p t k
Implosive ɓ ɗ
Voiced affricate
Nasal m n ŋ
Prenasalized stop ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ
Prenasalized affricate ᶮdʒ
Fricative h
Lateral l
Rhotic r
Semivowel w j
Prenasalized semivowel ᶮj

Kambera formerly had /s/, but a sound change occurring around the turn of the 20th century replaced all occurrences of former /s/ with /h/.


Pronouns and Person Markers[edit]

Personal pronouns are used in Kambera for emphasis/disambiguation and the syntactic relation between full pronouns and clitics is similar to that between NPs and clitics. NPs and pronouns have morphological case.

Personal Pronouns
Person Number
Singular Plural
1INC nyuta
1EXCL nyungga nyuma
2 nyumu nyimi
3 nyuna nyuda

Kambera, as a head-marking language, has rich morpho-syntactic marking on its predicators. The pronominal, aspectual and/or mood clitics together with the predicate constitute the nuclear clause. Definite verbal arguments are crossreferenced on the predicate for person, number and case (Nominative (N), Gentive (G), Dative (D), Accusative (A)). The four main pronominal clitic paradigms are given below.

Nominative Genitive Accusative Dative
1SG ku- -nggu -ka -ngga
2SG (m)u- -mu -kau -nggao
3SG na- -na -ya -nya
1PL.INC ta- -nda ta- -nda
1PL.EXC ma- -ma -kama -nggama
2PL (m)i- -mi -ka(m)i -ngga(m)i
3PL da- -da -ha -nja


(1) apu-nggu'
"My granny."

(2) ana-na'
"His child."

(3) Kau pa.ta.lunggur-ya na wihi-na                                        
scratch CAU.be sore ART leg-3SG.GEN                                        
"He scratched his leg sore." (lit. "He scratched and caused his leg to be sore")

(4) Na-tari-bia nahu angu-na
3SG.NOM-watch-MOD now companion-3SG.GEN
"He just watches his comapnion."

(5) Ningu uma-nggua                     
be.here house-3SG.GEN                     
"I have a house." (lit. "Here is a house of mine.")

(6) Nyuda-ha-ka nahu da ana-nda
they-3PL.ACC-PRF now ART child-1PL.GEN
"They are our children now."

The items in the table below mark person and number of the subject when the clause has continuative aspect.

Person Number
Singular Plural
1INC -ndanya
1EXCL -nggunya -manya
2 -munya -minya
3 -nanya -danya


(1) Lunggur-nanya na Ihi-na
scratch-3SG.CONT ART body-3SG.GEN
"He is scratching his body."

(2) "Laku-nnguya ina", wa-na
go-1SG.CONT mother say-3SG
"'I am going, mother," he said.'"


  1. ^ Kambera at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ Klamer, 1998
  4. ^ Klamer 1998


  • Klamer, Marian (1998). Kambera. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 
  • Klamer, Marian (2005). "Kambera". In Adelaar, Karl Alexander and Himmelmann, Nikolaus. The Austronesian Languages of Asia and Madagascar. London: Curzon Press.