Vaeakau-Taumako language

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Vaeakau-Taumako
Pileni
Region Reef Islands and Taumako, Solomon Islands
Native speakers
1,700  (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 piv
Glottolog pile1238[2]
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Vaeakau-Taumako (formerly known as Pileni) is a Polynesian language spoken in some of the Reef Islands as well as in the Taumako Islands (also known as the Duff Islands) in the Temotu province of the Solomon Islands.

The language is spoken throughout the Taumako Islands, while in the Reef Islands, it is spoken on Aua, Matema, Nifiloli, Nupani, Nukapu, and Pileni. Speakers are thought to be descendants of people from Tuvalu.

The language has traditionally been considered one of the Futunic group of Polynesian languages, but a 2008 study exclusively based on lexical evidence concluded that this membership is weakly supported.[3]

Phonology[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Vaeakau-Taumako does not vary from the standard Polynesian and Austronesian vowel system, featuring five vowels that can be used either in a long or short form. Short vowels found in word-final syllables are frequently devoiced or dropped, but long vowels in the same position are always stressed. There is little allophonic variation between vowel pronunciations (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:23-27).

Front Central Back
High i: /i/ and /ī/ u: /u/ and /ū/
Mid e: /e/ and /ē/ o: /o/ and /ō/
Low a: /a/ and /ā/

Vowel sequences in Vaeakau-Taumako are typically not treated as diphthongs, as they are not fully reduplicated, as shown in the word "holauhola". This is despite the vowels in the original word being pronounced like a diphthong (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:28).

Consonants[edit]

The Vaeakau-Taumako language has one of the most complex consonant system of the Polynesian languages, with 19 distinct phonemes, plus a large amount of variation across dialects. /b/ and /d/ are found primarily in loan words, rather being native to the language (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:34-35).

Aspirated sounds are characteristic of the language, and are typically strong and audible. However, the use of aspirated sounds varies across dialects, enough that it is difficult to identify a consistent pattern aside from noting they always occur at the start of stressed syllables (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:36).

Labial Dentalveolar Velar
Oral stop unvoiced, unaspirated

unvoiced, aspirated

voiced

p

b

t

d

k


Nasal voiced, unaspirated

unvoiced, aspirated

m

n

ŋ

ŋʰ

Lateral voiced, unaspirated

unvoived, aspirated

l

Fricative voiced

unvoiced

v



s


h

Morphology[edit]

Pronouns[edit]

Vaeakau-Taumako pronouns distinguish between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person pronouns. There are some inclusive and exclusive distinctions, and variations for singular, dual and plural in all cases. There are no gender distinctions. There is variation in the pronoun system for the dialects of Vaeakau-Taumako which can become quite complex, so for simplicity, only the general forms are recorded here (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:98).

Independent personal pronouns[edit]

There are two distinctive base sets of independent personal pronouns in Vaeakau-Taumako. The standard forms are used for formal occasions and recorded text, while the colloquial forms are typically found in informal, everyday conversation (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:99-100).

Standard Colloquial
Singular 1st person

2nd person

3rd person

iau, au

koe

ia

Dual 1st person inclusive

1st person exclusive

2nd person

3rd person

thaua

mhuaua

khoulua, kholua

lhaua

haua


houlua, holua

haua

Plural 1st person inclusive

1st person exclusive

2nd person

3rd person

thatou, thatu

mihatou, mhatu

khoutou, khotou

lhatou, lhatu

hatou, hatu


houtou

hatou, hatu

Bound subject pronouns[edit]

The language also features bound subject pronouns which act as clitics to the tense-aspect-mood marker of the verb of the constituent. They are not obligatory to use. The presence of the "u" has free variation by the choice of the speaker, but they are typically less prevalent in the colloquial forms (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:103-104).

Standard Colloquial
Singular 1st person

2nd person

3rd person

u=, ku=

ko=

ø

Dual 1st person inclusive

1st person exclusive

2nd person

3rd person

tha(u)=

mha(u)=

khol(u)=

lha(u)=

ha=


hol(u)=

ha=

Plural 1st person inclusive

1st person exclusive

2nd person

3rd person

that(u)=

mhat(u)=

khot(u)=

lhat(u)=

hat(u)=


hot(u)=

hat(u)=

Hortative pronouns[edit]

The dual, plural and 2nd person singular have specific pronouns used in imperative and hortative sentences (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:105).

Singular Dual Plural
1st person inclusive ta tatu, hatu, tatou
1st person exclusive ma matu
2nd person ko lu tu
3rd person la latu, hatu

Emphatic corefential pronouns[edit]

When the subject and direct object of a sentence are the same thing, repetition of the independent pronoun in place of both argument positions is typically used. However, there is a set of emphatic coreferential pronouns used for the direct object to refer to someone or a group of people acting alone (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:106).

Singular Dual Plural
1st person inclusive okhitaua okithatou
1st person exclusive okhoiau okhimaua okimhatou
2nd person okhoe okhoulua okhoutou
3rd person okhoia okhilaua okilhatou

The general pronoun nga[edit]

The word nga functions as a pronoun with specific use. It is a third person pronoun, but lacks specification for number, and is used to refer to both singular and plural referents. It typically is an anaphoric reference to a previously mentioned referent. (Naess and Hovdhaugen 2011:106-107).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vaeakau-Taumako at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Pileni". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database

External links[edit]