|Region||Northern New Guinea|
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Syntax
- 3 Morphology
- 3.1 Number
- 3.2 Reduplication
- 3.3 The verb
- 3.4 Adjectives
- 3.5 Possession
- 4 Resources
- 5 References
|Stop||p||b||t||d||k ~ ʔ ~ q||ɡ|
|Flap||ɾ ~ r|
Some vowels become glides in diphthongs, e.g. /u/, /o/ > [w] and /i/, /e/ > [j]. /i/ and /u/ are 'weaker' than /e/ and /o/, so that the syllable /kuo/ becomes [kwo] and not *[kuw]
According to Turner, /k/ is more and more often realized as [ʔ], while some older speakers have [q].
The Manam syllable is (C)(V1)V(V1)(C1), the only exception is a syllabic [m̩].
There are some phonotactic restrictions on the prevalent syllable structure. E.g. V1 cannot be [a], whereas V must be [a] as long as it’s not the syllable’s sole vowel. C can be any consonant, whereas C1 must be a nasal consonant.
Stress is phonemic: /ˈsara/ 'palm tree', /saˈra/ 'seagull'. The stress falls on one of the three last syllables of a word, and stressing the penult syllable is the most common: /ˈnatu/ 'child', /maˈlipi/ 'work'. If the last syllable ends in a nasal consonant, it will be stressed instead: /naˈtum/ 'your child'. Some inflections and affixes do not alter the stress of the root word: /iˈto/ 'he learned' (i- is a 3rd person prefix), /siˈŋabalo/ 'in the bush' (-lo is a locative suffix).
In the orthography, stressed vowels can be underlined in order to avoid ambiguities. Ie. /ˈsara/ ⟨sara⟩ 'palm tree', /saˈra/ ⟨sara⟩ 'seagull'.
The main word order in Manam is SOV:
- "The man hit the pig."
Manam has an unusual, though regionally common, four-way distinction between singular, dual, trial, and plural number. Singular and plural are marked on the verb and sometimes on the adjective, but not on the noun.
Reduplication can be either leftward (sa-salaga) or rightward (salaga-laga). There is no point in distinguishing 'partial' and 'total' reduplication, since at most two syllables are reduplicated.
Rightwards reduplicated nouns can either take on a meaning related to the original word, or function as an agentive marker:
moata snake moata-moata worm malipi the work malipi-lipi worker
Here are two examples of how number can be marked on the adjective through the different kinds of reduplication:
Rightward reduplication (singular)
udi noka-noka ripe banana tamoata bia-bia the big man
Leftward reduplication (plural)
udi no-noka ripe bananas tamoata bi-bia the big men
The verb always marks the subject and the mood; these are fused together. Optional suffixes includes such things as object, direction, aspectual markers, benefactive and various kinds of intensifiers and quantifiers. Here’s a schematical overview of the Manam verb:
|Outer prefixes||Verb nucleus||Outer suffixes|
|Inner prefixes||Root||Inner suffixes|
|Subject/mood marking||Manner prefix
|Verb root||-ak- transitive||Object marking
The realis mood (REAL) is used for actual events of the past or present, i.e. things that are certain to have happened, things that are "real". Accordingly, the irrealis (IRR) mood describes anticipated events in the future, or events that the speaker wishes were real.
ura nga-pura rain 3SG.IRR-come
- "it will rain"
- "I jumped"
nga-pile i-bebe 3SG.IRR-say 3SG.REAL-unable
- "he will say that he is unable" (he still hasn’t said anything, but when he does, his inability will be stated as actual)
tama-gu i-rere zama go-pura father-1SG.POSS 3SG.REAL-want tomorrow 2SG.IRR-come
- "my father wants you to come tomorrow" (the father’s wanting is real, whereas the anticipated coming is still unreal)
Manner prefixes are found between the subject/mood marker and the verb root. The manner prefixes describe in what manner the verb action was done, such as 'biting', 'cutting', 'throwing' etc.
boro u-tara-paka-i pig 1SG.REAL-spearing-miss-3SG.OBJ
- "I speared at the pig but missed it"
- "I will give (it) to you"
niu u-sing-Ø coconut 1SG.REAL-drink-3SG.OBJ
- "I drank a coconut"
- "give it to us"
- The preffix -aka- can occur between the person/mood marker and the verb root.
- The suffix -ka- can occur between the verb root and the outer suffixes.
- The so-called "transitive consonant" (TC) can occur between the verb root and the outer suffixes.
These methods can be combined.
dang i-aka-gita-i water 3SG.REAL-TRANS-be_hot-3SG.OBJ
- "he heated the water"
- "to shorten it"
The object suffixes are also optional, but rather common. Here are a few examples of some of the more unusual suffix types:
- "bring it here"
- "he throws rubbish all over the place"
- "I like it very much"
- "sing for me"
Most adjectives are derived by reduplication from a verb or a noun. As seen above, some reduplicated adjectives have a number distinction, but some others don’t, e.g. siki-siki 'small' (singular and plural). Some adjectives use the possessive pronouns to mark person and number, e.g. kapisa-Ø 'selfish' (singular) and kapisa-di 'selfish' (plural).
As in many other Austronesian languages, Manam expresses different degrees of possession. In addition to the most common differentitation between alienable and inalienable possession, Manam uses a particular morphological processes to describe belongings that are edible or associated with eating.
|2nd||-m / -ng||-ming-ru||-ming-to||-ming|
In this class, we find 'belongings' that are involuntary, such as body parts, family members and different kinds of necessary 'parts of a whole'. This class is characterized by simply a possessive suffix attached to the word in question:
- "my eye"
niu labu-di coconut base-3PL.POSS
- "the bases of the coconut trees"
In this class, we find things that are edible and 'used to obtain, prepare or store food'. This class is characterized by the word kana, which is placed after the possessed thing and to which the possessive suffix is attached:
udi kana-gu banana FOOD-1SG.POSS
- "my banana"
In this class, we find belongings that are voluntary; things that we can cease to own, unlike body parts or family. This class is characterized by the word ne, which is placed after the possessed thing and to which the possessive suffix is attached:
kati ne-gu canoe ALIEN-1SG.POSS
- "my canoe"
natu keu ne-di child dog ALIEN-3PL.POSS
- "the children’s dogs"
One fascinating thing is that the same word can occur in all three possession classes, and then of course its meaning will differ. Here are two examples:
|boro-gu||my pig (as part of one’s wealth)|
|boro kana-gu||my pork (which I am going to eat)|
|boro ne-gu||my pig (which I may or may not eat later)|
|dang-i-gu||my water (or rather 'body fluids')|
|dang kana-gu||my water (to drink)|
|dang ne-gu||my water (to wash with)|
- Lichtenberk, Frantisek (1983) A grammar of Manam. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication No. 18. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press. (Available in JSTOR.)
- Turner, Blaine (1986) A teaching grammar of the Manam language
- Short description of Manam culture