Lengo language

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Lengo
Native toSolomon Islands
RegionGuadalcanal
Native speakers
14,000 (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lgr
Glottologleng1259

Lengo is a Southeast Solomonic language of Guadalcanal.

Phonology[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Lengo has 6 vowels.[2]

Front Back
Close i u
Close-Mid e o
Open-Mid ɛ
Open ɑ

Vowel sequences occur commonly for all combinations of these vowels, with the exception of /uo/. The front open-mid vowel /ɛ/ never occurs in sequence.

Consonants[edit]

Lengo has 15 consonants.[3]

Labial Coronal Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
(prenasalized)
Plosive
ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ
p t k
Spirant v ð ɣ
Sibilant s
Trill r
Lateral l

Voiced stops are prenasalized. Two instances of regional variation in these phonemes have been observed. These are /v/ becoming /β/, and /ð/ becoming /z/.

Morphology[edit]

Pronominal systems[edit]

Lengo has five sets of pronominal forms. These are emphatic, subject reference, object, direct possessor, and indirect possessor. These distinguish maximally between four persons (first person inclusive and exclusive, second, and third person), and four numbers (singular, plural, dual, and paucal). There is no grammatical gender distinction, but there is an animacy distinction in the object paradigm. Two further uses of these pronominal forms occur - a reflexive pronoun, and a set of interrogative pronouns.[4]

The dual and paucal forms are derived from the plural forms by the addition of ko- and tu- respectively. The dual forms are used only to indicate 'two and only two', whilst the plural and paucal forms mean 'two or more' and 'three or more' respectively. First person exclusive excludes the addresse(s).

Emphatic pronouns[edit]

The emphatic pronoun in Lengo is optional, and can occur in combination with obligatory pronouns that may occur with subject or object function. It can also appear without other pronouns. It is used to emphasize the semantic role of a noun in a clause.[5]

[5]
Singular Plural Dual Paucal
1st exclusive inau ighami i-ko-ghami i-tu-ghami
inclusive ighita i-ko-ghita i-tu-ghita
2nd ighoe ighami i-ko-ghamu i-tu-ghamu
3rd igeia igeira i-ko-ira i-tu-ira

Examples:

(1)

ara

3PL

gito-a

steal-o:3SG

t-i

REAL-LOC

m-ara

CONJ-3PL

lavi

take

dea-a

go-o:3SG

na

ART

kei-gu

basket-PS:1SG

inau

EP:1SG

ara gito-a t-i m-ara lavi dea-a na kei-gu inau

3PL steal-o:3SG REAL-LOC CONJ-3PL take go-o:3SG ART basket-PS:1SG EP:1SG

"They stole it and they took it away my basket - mine."[6]

(2)

ara-ko

3PL-DU

gara

pull

iti-a

up-o:3SG

na

ART

thinaghe

canoe

i-ko-ira

DU.EP:3PL

m-u

CONJ-1SG

ghe

continue

tapa

run

inau

EP:1SG

ara-ko gara iti-a na thinaghe i-ko-ira m-u ghe tapa inau

3PL-DU pull up-o:3SG ART canoe DU.EP:3PL CONJ-1SG continue run EP:1SG

"they two pulled up the canoe and I continued to run."[7]

Subject reference pronouns[edit]

The subject reference pronoun appears as the first element in a verb phrase. It is obligatory in any main clause, but can be excepted in subordinate clauses. It is optional in imperative sentences.[8]

[9]
Singular Plural Dual Paucal
1st exclusive u ami ami-ko ami-tu
inclusive a a-ko a-tu
2nd o amu amu-ko amu-tu
3rd e ara ara-ko ara-tu

Example:

(3)

i-ko-ghami

DU:EP:1PL.EXCL

a

ART

P.

P.

ami-ko

1PL.EXCL-DU

dea

go

i

LOC

nughu.

river

i-ko-ghami a P. ami-ko dea i nughu.

DU:EP:1PL.EXCL ART P. 1PL.EXCL-DU go LOC river

"We two, P. and I, we two went to the river."[9]

Object pronouns[edit]

The object form in Lengo is identified using a set of pronominal suffixes, which index the object arguments on the verb. In instances where a verb takes both a direct and indirect object, only the indirect object is marked. The third person plural object form is marked for animate or inanimate objects.[10]

[10]
Singular Plural Dual Paucal
1st exclusive -u -ghami -ko-ghami -tu-ghami
inclusive -ghita -ko-ghita -tu-ghita
2nd -gho -ghamu -ko-ghamu -tu-ghamu
3rd -a -ra (animate), -i (inanimate) -ko-ira -tu-ira

Example:

(4)

ara

3PL

pitu-u

wait-o:1SG

ara pitu-u

3PL wait-o:1SG

"They await me."[10]

Direct possessor pronouns[edit]

The direct possessor form is used for inalienably possessed nouns. It is a suffix on the possessed noun that indicates the possessor. In the case of the dual and paucal forms, number is indicated as a prefix on the noun, and the plural form of the possessive suffix is used.[11]

[12]
Singular Plural Dual Paucal
1st exclusive -gu -mami ko- -mami tu- -mami
inclusive -da ko- -da tu- -da
2nd -mu -mu ko- -miu tu- -miu
3rd -a, -na -dira ko- -dira tu- -dira

The third person singular direct possessor appears in two forms, with '-a' being more prevalent than '-na'.[12]

Examples:

(5)

na

ART

vae-gu

house-PS:1SG

na vae-gu

ART house-PS:1SG

"My house."[11]

(6)

A

ART

ko-dae-mami

DU-child-PL:1PL.EXCL

e

3SG

belo

ring.bell

A ko-dae-mami e belo

ART DU-child-PL:1PL.EXCL 3SG ring.bell

"our two's child is ringing the bell."[13]

Indirect possessor pronouns[edit]

The indirect possessor form is used for alienably possessed nouns. It occurs as a free morpheme preceding the possessed noun. There are two categories distinguished - 'oral consumable' and 'general'. The oral consumable category includes items that are able to be eaten, drunk, or consumed via the mouth, such as tobacco.[11]

[11] General Oral consumable
1st Inclusive 1st Exclusive 2nd 3rd 1st Inclusive 1st Exclusive 2nd 3rd
Singular ni-gu-a ni-mo-a ne gha-gu-a gha-mo-a ghe
Plural no-da ni-mami ni-miu no-dira gha-da gha-mami gha-miu gha-dira
Dual ko-no-da ko-ni-mami ko-ni-miu ko-no-dira ko-gha-da ko-gha-mami ko-gha-miu ko-gha-dira
Paucal tu-no-da tu-ni-mami tu-ni-miu tu-no-dira tu-gha-da tu-gha-mami tu-gha-miu tu-gha-dira

Oral consumable form:

(7)

gha-mu-a

oral.CLF-PS:2SG-O:3SG

na

ART

vudi

banana

lepa

ripe

gha-mu-a na vudi lepa

oral.CLF-PS:2SG-O:3SG ART banana ripe

"[Here is a] ripe banana for you to eat."[14]

General form:

(8)

ne

PS:3SG

na

ART

be

pig

O.

O

ne na be O.

PS:3SG ART pig O

"O's pig."[15]

Reflexive pronouns[edit]

A reflexive pronoun is composed when a direct possessor suffix is added to the stem 'tibo'. This results in a valency decrease of the verb.[14]

Examples:

(9)

u

1SG

toka

cut

tibo-gu.

REFL-PS:1SG

u toka tibo-gu.

1SG cut REFL-PS:1SG

"I cut myself."[16]

(10)

u

1SG

toka

cut

na

ART

ghai

tree

u toka na ghai

1SG cut ART tree

"I cut the tree."

Interrogative and relative pronouns[edit]

Lengo has two pronouns that have interrogative or relative uses. 'thi' is used if the reference is human, and 'tha' if the reference is non-human.[16]

Relative use:

(11)

na

ART

tinoni

person

ketha

different

a

ART

thi

REL

ga

there

deni

DEM

ba

FUT

k-e

IRR-3SG

mai

come

lau-a

take-o:3SG

pile-a

little.bit-o:3SG

na

ART

vanga

food

de

DEM

na tinoni ketha a thi ga deni ba k-e mai lau-a pile-a na vanga de

ART person different ART REL there DEM FUT IRR-3SG come take-o:3SG little.bit-o:3SG ART food DEM

"a different person who is over there will come take a bit of this food."[16]

Interrogative use:

(12)

na

ART

tha

INT

t-o

REAL-3SG

goni-a?

do-o:3SG

na tha t-o goni-a?

ART INT REAL-3SG do-o:3SG

"What are you doing?"[17]

Negation[edit]

There are several ways to indicate negation in Lengo.

There is the discontinuous morpheme mo 'NEG', which surrounds the verb being negated. There are three modals which can appear in the serial verb construction and are negative (teigha), prohibitive (tabu) or non-volitive (kou). Lastly, there is the auxiliary boro 'impossible FUT', which is sometimes glossed as 'NEG' and can negate the verb.

The mo ... mo 'NEG ... NEG' structure can also be combined with teigha 'NEG' to create a double negative, which carries the meaning of a strong affirmative.[18]

Discontinuous morpheme mo ... mo[edit]

The grammatical negator, the mo ... mo 'NEG ... NEG' structure, is the only instance of a 'discontinuous' morpheme in Lengo. The morpheme mo appears both before and after the verb being negated.[18] The basic structure of this construction is mo V mo, as seen in (13) and (14):

(13)

Mo

NEG

ole

walk

mo.

NEG

Mo ole mo.

NEG walk NEG

'Don't walk.'[19]

(14)

Mo

NEG

thaghata

bad

leo

inside

mo.

NEG

Mo thaghata leo mo.

NEG bad inside NEG

'Don't worry.'[19]

A variant of this construction is mo ... moa, as seen in (15).

(15)

ko

2SG

mo

NEG

lubathia

let.3SG

moa

NEG

pe

or.3SG

dea

go

ko mo lubathia moa pe dea

2SG NEG let.3SG NEG or.3SG go

'Don't let it out (release it) or it will run away.'[20]

Note that although all examples presented by Unger show mo ... mo 'NEG ... NEG' used for a negative imperative, it should not be assumed that this construction is exclusive to a particular sentence structure. More examples are needed for a satisfactory conclusion.

Regardless, mo ... mo is an uncommon negator in Lengo. Much more frequently used is the modal teigha 'NEG'.

Modals[edit]

Lengo has a 'serial verb construction'. The various types of serial verb construction identified are directional, sequential, causative, manner, ambient, comitative, dative, instrumental and modal.[21] The basic structure of a modal serial verb construction is as follows:

V + na V(-O)[21]

The first verb is the modal verb, and the second verb follows an article (always na). This second verb is treated somewhat like an infinitive.[22] Lengo has five modal verbs; of these, three are used to create negative constructions. These three are:[23]

Modal Meaning
teigha negative
tabu prohibitive
kou non-volitive

Negative teigha[edit]

Of all the ways to express negation in Lengo, the modal teigha 'NEG' is the most versatile and often used.[24] It can be used to negate verbs in statements, like in (16):

(16)

ami-ko

1PL.EXCL-DU

teigha

NEG

na

ART

ta~tavu

REDUP~find

thai-a

'arrive.at'-o:3SG

na

ART

kei

basket

ami-ko teigha na ta~tavu thai-a na kei

1PL.EXCL-DU NEG ART REDUP~find 'arrive.at'-o:3SG ART basket

'we couldn't find the basket'[24]

In (17) and (18), teigha appears at the very beginning of the serial verb construction, and the realis locative t-i appears between the negator and the article na. The entire serial verb construction is negated by teigha.

(17)

Ba

FUT

k-u

IRR-1SG

teigha

NEG

t-i

REAL-LOC

na

ART

mono

stay

varongo

quiet

i

LOC

vanua.

village

Ba k-u teigha t-i na mono varongo i vanua.

FUT IRR-1SG NEG REAL-LOC ART stay quiet LOC village

'I really won't be sitting around in the village.'[25]

(18)

E

3SG

teigha

NEG

t-i

REAL-LOC

na

ART

mono

stay

varongo!

quiet

E teigha t-i na mono varongo!

3SG NEG REAL-LOC ART stay quiet

'He simply cannot be still!'[24]

Sometimes the construction teigha na undergoes elision and is shortened to tena, like in (19):

(19)

"gami

g-ami

PFV-1PL.EXCL

tena

teigha

NEG

 

na

ART

agri

agri

agree

ighami,"

ighami

EP:1PL.EXCL

gi

g-i

PFV-LOC

gea

gea

EP:3SG

ena

ena

3SG:stay

"gami tena {} agri ighami," gi gea ena

g-ami teigha na agri ighami g-i gea ena

PFV-1PL.EXCL NEG ART agree EP:1PL.EXCL PFV-LOC EP:3SG 3SG:stay

'"we don't agree," they said'[24]

It is important to note that this shortened form tena 'NEG' should not be confused with tena 'LOC'. Refer to example (20), which shows both homophones in use: the first being the locative and the second (bolded) being the combined modal and article.

(20)

tangomana

tangomana

possible

tugua

tugu-a

story-o:3SG

tena

tena

LOC

bona

bona

time

deni.

deni

DEM

E.

e

3SG

tena

teigha

NEG

 

na

ART

tuaghai.

tuaghai

long

Geia

geia

EP:3SG

po.

po

LIM

Taigu.

taigu

thank.you

tangomana tugua tena bona deni. E. tena {} tuaghai. Geia po. Taigu.

tangomana tugu-a tena bona deni e teigha na tuaghai geia po taigu

possible story-o:3SG LOC time DEM 3SG NEG ART long EP:3SG LIM thank.you

'That just the story I am able to tell at this time. It's not long. That's it. Thank you.'[26]

Teigha is flexible and can be used to create negative polar questions and answer polar questions, as in examples (21), (22) and (23).

Example (21) is a negative polar question which can be answered with either eo 'yes' or teigha 'no'. Answering with eo would mean 'yes, I have not seen your basket', whereas answering with teigha would mean 'no, I have seen it'.[27]

In example (22), teigha is used to answer a polar question in the negative. In (23), teigha is modified by an adverbial, vata 'continue'.

(21)

o

2SG

teigha

NEG

na

ART

bere

see

na

ART

kei-gu?

basket-PS:1SG

o teigha na bere na kei-gu?

2SG NEG ART see ART basket-PS:1SG

'you haven't seen my basket?'[27]

(22)

O

2SG

bo

IPFV

dea

go

i

LOC

leghai?

garden

Teigha.

NEG

O bo dea i leghai? Teigha.

2SG IPFV go LOC garden NEG

'Are you going to the garden?' 'No.'[28]

(23)

A

ART

P.

P

t-e

REAL-3SG

mai?

come

Teigha

NEG

vata.

continue

A P. t-e mai? Teigha vata.

ART P REAL-3SG come NEG continue

'Has P. come?' 'Not yet.'[29]

In (24), o teigha 'or NEG' is added to the end of the sentence to create an alternative question.

(24)

Ba

FUT

k-o

IRR-2SG

dea

go

o

or

teigha?

NEG

Ba k-o dea o teigha?

FUT IRR-2SG go or NEG

'Are you going or not?'[28]

A content question can also be answered with teigha, as in (25).

(25)

E

3SG

ngitha

how.many

na

ART

igha

fish

t-o

REAL-2SG

lavi?

take

Teigha.

NEG

E ngitha na igha t-o lavi? Teigha.

3SG how.many ART fish REAL-2SG take NEG

'How many fish did you catch?' 'None.'[28]

Prohibitive tabu[edit]

The word tabu 'prohibitive (with consequences); forbidden' is another common way of forming a negative. It is often used by parents who are correcting their children.[29] As with teigha 'no/none', a clause could consist of the single word Tabu! 'Don't!'[30] The basic structure is the same as with other modals: the first verb is the modal, and it is followed by the article na and the second verb.

In (26), the consequence of disobeying is explicitly addressed. In (27), the article na is omitted, and the consequence of 'or else ...' is implied.

(26)

Tabu

NEG

na

ART

lavi-a

grab-o:3SG

na

ART

ghau:

knife

b-e

APPR-3SG

ghado-gho

pierce-o:2SG

Tabu na lavi-a na ghau: b-e ghado-gho

NEG ART grab-o:3SG ART knife APPR-3SG pierce-o:2SG

'Don't grab the knife: no good it cuts you!'[29]

(27)

Tabu

NEG

le~leu!

REDUP~fight

Tabu le~leu!

NEG REDUP~fight

'Don't fight!'[31]

Non-volitive kou[edit]

The third and last negative modal is kou 'unwilling', which is used to indicate non-volition. It appears in the same place as teigha and tabu, but carries a more specific meaning.

In example (28), if the more general teigha 'NEG' had been used instead of kou, it would simply mean that the fish do not eat the bait. However, in (28), the fish not only do not eat the bait, but they will not.[31]

Example (29) has the words laka 'also' and t-i 'REAL-LOC' in between the negator and the article na.

(28)

Kou

NEG

na

ART

vanga

eat

na

ART

igha.

fish

Kou na vanga na igha.

NEG ART eat ART fish

'The fish are unwilling to eat [the bait].'[31]

(29)

Ma

CONJ

na

ART

tha

REL

laka

also

e

3SG

kou

NEG

laka

also

t-i

REAL-LOC

na

ART

lighu-ni-a

pass-TR-o:3SG

ghini-a

INST-o:3SG

igha

fish

deni

DEM

m-e

CONJ-3SG

ghe

continue

laka

also

po

LIM

t-i

REAL-LOC

tena

LOC

maone.

sand

Ma na tha laka e kou laka t-i na lighu-ni-a ghini-a igha deni m-e ghe laka po t-i tena maone.

CONJ ART REL also 3SG NEG also REAL-LOC ART pass-TR-o:3SG INST-o:3SG fish DEM CONJ-3SG continue also LIM REAL-LOC LOC sand

'And what's more, he [the fish] was unwilling to be passed by him [the turtle] so this fish also just continued onto the sand.'[31]

Auxiliary boro[edit]

In Lengo, tense auxiliaries appear before the subject reference pronoun and verb. There are two tense auxiliaries: bo 'FUT' and boro 'impossible FUT'. While boro is perhaps not a straightforward example of negation, it nevertheless does carry a meaning of 'negation for a reason'. If tabu is specifically prohibitive and kou is specifically non-volitive, then boro can be presented as a negator denoting impossibility. Furthermore, it is sometimes glossed as NEG, as in (30):

(30)

Boro

NEG

k-e

IRR-3SG

ghe

continue

dea

go

tena

LOC

group

group

sakai,

one

boro

NEG

tena

LOC

group

group

ruka,

two

ba

FUT

k-e

IRR-3SG

masi

must

ba

FUT

oli

return

ba

FUT

tena

LOC

nimiu

PS:2PL

na

ART

thara

feast.row

tibo-miu

REFL-PS:2PL

t-i

REAL-LOC

ighamu

EP:2PL

na

ART

K.

K

Boro k-e ghe dea tena group sakai, boro tena group ruka, ba k-e masi ba oli ba tena nimiu na thara tibo-miu t-i ighamu na K.

NEG IRR-3SG continue go LOC group one NEG LOC group two FUT IRR-3SG must FUT return FUT LOC PS:2PL ART feast.row REFL-PS:2PL REAL-LOC EP:2PL ART K

'It cannot go to group one, it cannot go to group two; it must return to your feast row—yourselves [group] K.'[32] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Example (31) shows boro glossed as 'impossible'. However, it still has the effect of negating the verb.

(31)

pukua

because

na

ART

thara

feast

deni

DEM

boro

impossible

k-a

IRR-1PL.INCL

tovothi

separate

thudu

sit

pukua na thara deni boro k-a tovothi thudu

because ART feast DEM impossible IRR-1PL.INCL separate sit

'because at this feast it will be impossible for us to sit separate'[33]

Double negative construction[edit]

The modal teigha 'NEG can be combined with the mo ... mo 'NEG ... NEG' structure to create a double negative, which carries the meaning of a strong affirmative, as in (32). However, this construction (meaning 'must') is rarely used. Instead, the Pijin form masi 'must', a borrowing from English, is much more common.[19]

Example (33) shows the same sentence as (32), but without either of the negation structures. This example is a simple imperative.

(32)

k-o

IRR-2SG

mo

NEG

ghe

continue

teigha

NEG

mo

NEG

na

ART

mai

come

k-o mo ghe teigha mo na mai

IRR-2SG NEG continue NEG NEG ART come

'you must come' (lit. 'you must not not continue to come')[19]

(33)

k-o

IRR-2SG

ghe

continue

mai

come

k-o ghe mai

IRR-2SG continue come

'you, continue coming'[34]

Abbreviations[edit]

The following is a list of all the abbreviations used in this article.

1 first person
2 second person
3 third person
APPR apprehensive
ART article
CLF classifier
CONJ conjunction
DEM demonstrative
DU dual
EP emphatic pronoun
EX exclusive
FUT future
IPFV imperfective
INST instrumental
INT interrogative
IRR irrealis
LIM limiter
LOC locative
o/O object
PFV perfective
PL plural
PS possessor pronoun / person
REDUP reduplication
REAL realis
REFL reflexive
REL relative pronoun
SG singular
TR transitivitiser

O:object PS:possessor pronoun / person EP:emphatic pronoun LIM:limiter

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Lengo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Unger 2008, p. 5.
  3. ^ Unger 2008, p. 4.
  4. ^ Unger 2008, pp. 27–29.
  5. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 29.
  6. ^ Unger 2008, p. 32.
  7. ^ Unger 2008, p. 30.
  8. ^ Unger 2008, p. 34.
  9. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 37.
  10. ^ a b c Unger 2008, p. 39.
  11. ^ a b c d Unger 2008, p. 42.
  12. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 41.
  13. ^ Unger 2008, p. 49.
  14. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 44.
  15. ^ Unger 2008, p. 43.
  16. ^ a b c Unger 2008, p. 45.
  17. ^ Unger 2008, p. 46.
  18. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 137.
  19. ^ a b c d Unger 2008, p. 138.
  20. ^ Unger 2008, p. 201.
  21. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 141.
  22. ^ Unger 2008, p. 159.
  23. ^ Unger 2008, p. 158.
  24. ^ a b c d Unger 2008, p. 161.
  25. ^ Unger 2008, p. 151.
  26. ^ Unger 2008, p. 230.
  27. ^ a b Unger 2008, p. 189.
  28. ^ a b c Unger 2008, p. 162.
  29. ^ a b c Unger 2008, p. 163.
  30. ^ Unger 2008, p. 76.
  31. ^ a b c d Unger 2008, p. 164.
  32. ^ Unger 2008, p. 135.
  33. ^ Unger 2008, p. 111.
  34. ^ Unger 2008, p. 139.

References[edit]

Unger, Paul (2008). Aspects of Lengo grammar (Thesis). Trinity Western University.

External links[edit]