Malmariv language

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Malmariv
Region Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Native speakers
800  (1997–2001)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
mnl – Tiale
lmb – Merei
Glottolog tial1239  (Tiale)[3]
mere1242  (Merei)[4]

Malmariv/Merei is an Oceanic language spoken in north central Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu.

There are two varieties, Tiale, or Malmariv, and Merei, or Lametin. They are mutually intelligible according to a comparison of 234 words, among which 94.87 cognates were found.[5] There are an estimated 800 speakers of Malmariv-Merei or Tiale-Lametin.[6] With Merei being spoken by approximately 400 people as a mother tongue.[1] There are at least four villages where Merei is spoken, Angoru, Navele, Tombet and Vusvogo. These villages are located between the Ora and Lape rivers in the central area of Espiritu Santo Island.[1]

Merei Phonology[edit]

Merei has a phoneme inventory consisting of sixteen consonants and five vowels. The combinations of vowels can form nine diphthongs.[1]

Table 1: Consonant Phonemes[edit]

p

t

k

mb

nd

ŋg

pm

v

s

m

n

ŋ

l

r

j

2: Vowel Phonemes[edit]

i

u

e

o

a

Table 3: Vowel Combinations: Diphthongs[edit]

a

e

i

o

u

a

ae

ai

ao

au

e

ei

i

o

oi

ou

u

ue

ui

Merei Morphology[edit]

Pronouns and Person Markers[edit]

The pronominal system contains two free-form categories, independent pronouns and preverbal subject pronouns, and two bound categories, object pronominal suffix and possessive pronominal suffix. No gender or animate distinction is made. Pronouns only have animate reference.[1]

The pronominal system makes a distinction between first, second and third persons. Singular, dual, and plural are marked by number. First person dual and plural makes the distinction between inclusive and exclusive.[1]

Table 4 below shows Merei's independent pronouns along with preverbal subject pronouns and pronominal suffixes.

Table 4: Pronouns and pronominal suffixes.[1][edit]

Independent

pronouns

Preverbal subject

pronouns

Object pronominal

suffix

Possessive pronominal

suffix

1

nao

na/nam

-iau

-gu

2

go

ko

-ko

-m

3

nie

Ø

Ø

-na

1I

de

te

-da

-da

1E

gamau

kama

-mau

-mau

2P

gami

kam

-mi

-mi

3P

ire

Ø

-ra

-ra

1D

de rua

tera

-da rau

-da rua

1DE

gamau rua

kamara

-mau rua

-mau rua

2D

gami rua

kamra

-mi rua

-mi rua

3D

ire rua

Ø

-ra rua

-ra rua

Independent pronouns[edit]

In this example we see the 2nd person independent pronoun being used as a speech act of invitation.

(1)[1] i go
A:P 2
'You (eat it).' (as one is giving you food).

Example 2 shows use of the first person plural exclusive independent pronoun gamau.

(2)[1] Kam ta usi ko arongo/ ko sio peser i gamau tui.
2P R ask 2 today 2 down with A:P 1E PER
'We asked you today for you to stay with us. '

Preverbal Subject Pronouns and Suffixes[edit]

Example 3 below uses the preverbal subject pronoun nam and the possessive pronominal suffix -gu.

(3)[1]

Nam

ta

tai

ia

jingo-m

ko

ta

tai

ia

sala-gu.

1

R

make

A:C

Mouth-2

2

R

make

A:C

road-1.

‘I make your mouth and you make my road.’

Example 4 below demonstrates the absence of a 3rd person singular preverbal subject pronoun and also contains the 3rd person plural pronominal suffix -ra.

(4)[1]

Ø

ta

vai-ra

mate.

3

R

make-3P

died.

‘He cause them to die.’

Reflexive pronouns[edit]

Reflexive pronouns are formed from the root nese- followed by a possessive pronominal suffix. It can be used in concurrence with the free pronoun and is often followed by the free particle nga 'only' as seen in example 5 and 6 below.

(5)[1]

I

nau

nese-gu

nga

nam

ta

sioto.

A:P

1

self-1

only

1

R

stay.

‘Just I myself stay.’

(6)[1]

Nam

ta

jip

nese-gu

nga.

1

R

cut

self-1

only.

‘I cut myself.’

Demonstrative Pronouns[edit]

Demonstrative pronouns consist of a mix of locational adverbs and third person pronouns. They have three possible functions: they can occupy the whole noun phrase slot, act as an independent nominal argument or be placed at the end of a noun phrase to modify the noun-head.[1] The classifications of demonstrative adverbs are based on two aspects: speaker-hearer reference and spatial reference.[1]

Singular Plural
close to both speaker and hearer get-nie get-ire
close to the speaker na-nie na-ire
close to the hearer gata-nie gata-ire
uncertain/not visible ani-nie ani-ire
Example 7 shows get-nie a speaker hearer referenced demonstrative pronoun
(7)[1] Get-nie ia sava?
this A:C what
'What is this?'
Example 8 shows get-ire a speaker hearer referenced demonstrative pronoun
(8)[1] Iadu tese get-ire tato toma?
A:C.PL man these R:3P what.happen
'What are these men doing?

Spatial reference demonstrative pronouns are formed by the third person independent pronouns, nie and ire when linked to spatial adverbial adverbs.[1]

Proximal Intermediate Distal
ascending direction singular'''plural ai-sa-nie''ai-sa-ire ma-ja-nie''ma-ja-ire le-sa-nie''le-sa-ire
at same level singular''plural ai-va-nie''ai-va-ire ai-va-nie/le-va-nie''ai-va-ire/le-va-ire le-va-nie''le-va-ire
descending direction singular''plural ai-sio-nie''ai-sio-ire ma-jio-nie''ma-jio-ire le-sio-nie''e-sio-ire
(9)[1] leva-nie
far.horizontal.3
'That far horizontal'
(10)[1] la tese leva-nie Ø ta logologo.
A:C man far.horizontal-3 3 R bad.
'That man is bad' (referring to a man who is a long way from the speaker)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Chung, Ying Shing Anthony (2005). A descriptive grammar of Merei (Vanuatu). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. p. 12. ISBN 0 85883 560 6. 
  2. ^ Tiale at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Merei at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tiale". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Merei". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  5. ^ Tryon, Darrell T. (1973). "Linguistic subgrouping in the new Hebrides: a preliminary approach.". Oceanic Linguistics 12: 303–352. 
  6. ^ Lynch, John; Crowley, Terry (2001). Languages of Vanuatu: a new survey and bibliography. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. p. 54.