Mentawai language

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Mentawai
Behase Mentawei
Native toWest Sumatra, Indonesia
RegionMentawai Islands
Native speakers
58,000 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mwv
Glottologment1249

The Mentawai language is an Austronesian language, spoken by the Mentawai people of the Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, Indonesia.

Dialects[edit]

According to Ethnologue, Mentawai dialects include: Silabu, Sipura – Simalegi, Sakalagan, Saumanganja – North Siberut, South Siberut – Taikaku – Pagai.[1]

Syamsir Arifin, et al. (1992) list twelve dialects of Mentawai:

Dialects in Siberut Island are:[2]

  • Sikapone
  • Togiiite
  • Pokai
  • Simajegi
  • Simatalu
  • Paipajet
  • Sakuddei
  • Sagulubbe
  • Sirileleu
  • Sikabaluan
  • Sempungan
  • Saibi & Sarabua
  • Silaoinan
  • Sarareiket
  • Sabirut

Phonology[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless (t͡ɕ)
voiced d͡ʑ
Fricative s
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Rhotic r
Semivowel w j
  • Allophones of /b ɡ k/ can be heard as [β ɣ ʔ]. [t͡ɕ] is a distinct sound in Mentawai, but not given phoneme status by Syamsir et al. because of the lack of minimal contrasts.[3]
  • The semivowels /w j/ only appear in final position.

Vowels[edit]

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Arifin, Syamsir; Malano, Nasroel; Kasim, Yuslina (1992). Fonologi Bahasa Mentawai [Mentawai Language Phonology] (PDF) (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaa.
  • Adriani, N. (1928). "Spraakkunstige Schets van de Taal der Mĕntawai-Eilanden" [Grammar Sketch of the Language of the Mĕntawai Islands]. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië (in Dutch). 84 (1): 1–117. doi:10.1163/22134379-90001493. JSTOR 20770239.