Malmariv language

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Malmariv
RegionEspiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Native speakers
800 (1997–2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mnl – Tiale
lmb – Merei
Glottologtial1239  Tiale[2]
mere1242  Merei[3]

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.[4] There are an estimated 800 speakers of Malmariv-Merei or Tiale-Lametin.[5] Merei, as well as Tiale, are both spoken by roughly 60% of the children in the villages. The members of the population have a positive attitude towards the threatened language, with Merei being spoken by approximately 400 people as a mother tongue.[6] 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.[6]

Merei is an SVO language, aligning itself with many of the typical Oceanic features. Subject pronouns, modality, and aspect markers occur preverbally, object pronouns and aspect adverbs follow the verb, and possessives are divided into direct and indirect (or inalienable and alienable respectively).[6]

Merei Phonology[edit]

Merei has a phoneme inventory consisting of sixteen consonants and five vowels. The combinations of vowels can form nine diphthongs.[6]

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.[6]

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.[6]

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

Table 4: Pronouns and pronominal suffixes.[6][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)[6] 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)[6] 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)[6]

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)[6]

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)[6]

I

nau

nese-gu

nga

nam

ta

sioto.

A:P

1

self-1

only

1

R

stay.

‘Just I myself stay.’

(6)[6]

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.[6] The classifications of demonstrative adverbs are based on two aspects: speaker-hearer reference and spatial reference.[6]

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)[6] Get-nie ia sava?
this A:C what
'What is this?'
Example 8 shows get-ire a speaker hearer referenced demonstrative pronoun
(8)[6] 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.[6]

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)[6] leva-nie
far.horizontal.3
'That far horizontal'
(10)[6] 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)

Possessive Constructions[edit]

In the Malmariv language, there are two possessive formations, direct and indirect. In certain situations, both of them are simultaneously possible. When in this predicament, if the possessed is more closely linked to the possessor, then it is classed as direct poIndirect Possessiond to indirect possession.

The possessive construction of the Merei language is typical Oceanic. There are different types of the classifiers and genitive prepositions of indirect possessive according to the edibility of the noun heads,[6] however the word for tattoo ‘bur’ is an exception to the edible noun class.

Pronominal object suffixes and non-singular pronominal possessive suffixes are practically identical.

Direct Possession[edit]

In direct pronominal possession a possessed inalienable noun head is followed by a poBoth Direct and Indirect Possession shown in table 4 above.[6] This type of formation is normally related with body parts, familial terms, and relationships between location and part-whole connections.

Examples 11, 12 and 13 show the relative possessive pronominal suffix pairing with the possessed noun.

(11)[6] ia mata-m
A:C eye-2
‘your eye’
(12)[6] i nanu-gu
A:P child-1
‘my child’
(13)[6] la vsa-na
L/T top-3
‘on its top’

The directly possessed noun is followed by the possessor noun phrase when the possessor is a nominal. This is shown in examples 14, 15 and 16.

(14)[6] ia natu ia bo
A:C child A:C pig
'the pigs child'
(15) [6] ia lma i Pita
A:C hand A:P Pita
'Peter’s hand'
(16) [6] i rabui i Pita
A:P mother A:P Pita
‘Peter’s mother'
Indirect Possession[edit]

With indirect pronominal possession, there is a Possessive Classifier that precedes the indirectly possessed alienable noun head. The Possessive Classifier for inedible nouns is nou- (POSSC.I), and a- (or less commonly na-) for edible and drinkable nouns (POSSC.E), followed by the possessive pronominal suffix.[6]

Example 17 shows the Possessive Classifier for inedible nouns
(17) [6] nou-gu uma
POSSC.I-1 garden
‘my garden’
Example 18 shows the Possessive Classifier for edible and drinkable nouns
(18)[6] a-gu sna
POSSC.E-1 yam
‘my yam’

In indirect nominal possession the indirectly possessive noun head is followed by a genitive preposition, nui for inedible (GEN.I) and nai for edible (GEN.E), which are followed by the possessor noun.[6]

Example 19 shows the genitive preposition for inedible nouns
(19) [6] ia bo nui Loretta
A:C pig GEN.I Loretta
'Loretta's pig'
Example 20 shows the genitive preposition for edible nouns
(20) [6] ia sei-beda nai Loretta
A:C piece-taro GEN.E Loretta
'Loretta's taro-piece'

The benefactive preposition sei can also function as genitive preposition. it operates as part of the noun phrase and functions like a descriptive normal modifier or a possessive construction.[6]

(21) [6] ia tese sei Vila
A:C man BEN Vila
'the man from Vila'
Both Direct and Indirect Possession[edit]

Many Oceanic languages have the ability to possess nouns both directly and indirectly. This difference in possession changes the meaning of the nouns affected. In indirect possession, the relationship between the possessed and the possessor is not as close as the direct possessive.[6]

Examples 22 and 23 below show the difference that indirect and direct possession have on the noun 'night'.

(22) [6] ia nou-gu bong
A:C POSSC.I night
'my night' (the day of celebration for me)
(23) [6] ia bong i ia vla Ø ta ese
A:C night A:P A:C month 3 R one
'the first day of the month'

The following examples show the difference that indirect and direct possession have on the noun 'road'.

(24) [6] ia nou-gu sala
A:C POSSC.I road
‘my road’
(25)[6] ia sala-gu
A:C road-1
‘my way’ (way of going or doing thing)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tiale at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Merei at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tiale". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Merei". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Tryon, Darrell T. (1973). "Linguistic subgrouping in the new Hebrides: a preliminary approach". Oceanic Linguistics. 12: 303–352. doi:10.2307/3622859.
  5. ^ Lynch, John; Crowley, Terry (2001). Languages of Vanuatu: a new survey and bibliography. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. p. 54.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Chung, Ying Shing Anthony (2005). A descriptive grammar of Merei (Vanuatu). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. p. 12. ISBN 0 85883 560 6.

External links[edit]