Lingarak, also known as Neverver, is an Oceanic language. Neverver is spoken in Malampa Province, in central Malekula, Vanuatu. The names of the villages on Malekula Island where Never is spoken are Lingarakh and Limap.
Neverver is threatened. There are only 1,250 native speakers of Neverver. There are two dialects, Mindu and Wuli.
Neverver has 19 consonants and 5 vowels in its sound system.
Important features of the consonants in Neverver include prenasalisation and trills. Below is a table of the consonant inventory of Neverver:
Voiced obstruents, including the fricatives /β/ and /ɣ/, and the prenasalized trills /mbʙ/ and /ndr/ are devoiced in word-final position in rapid speech. Among younger speakers, the prenasalized plosives become simple nasals in word-final position.
The plosive /p/ becomes a voiceless trill [ʙ̥] before the vowel /u/.
(Barbour, 2012, p.24-25)
Below is a table of the Neverver vowel inventory:
Pronoun and person markers
Neverver uses different pronominal and nominal forms. There are three main noun classes: Common, Personal, and Local nouns. There is also another fourth pronominal-noun category which blends features of the Neverver pronominal system with properties of the three major noun classes. There are three pronoun paradigms in Neverver: Independent personal pronouns, Possessive determiners, and Possessive pronouns. Like most Austronesian languages, in Neverver the Inclusive/Exclusive distinction only applies to the 1st person plural category. Personal nouns in Neverver include Personal proper names as well as Personal kin terms.
Independent personal pronouns
Independent personal pronouns encode basic person and number contrasts. This includes the optionally articulated i-, which can indicate either a subject or object. Although this initial i- is optional with the pronouns, it is obligatory with the personal interrogative. For example i-sikh means 'who'. Independent personal pronouns usually refer to animate entities, unless in some particular circumstances such as reflexive constructions. Below is a table showing the Independent pronoun paradigm:
(i-)nam ~ (gu)mam
Furthermore all subjects, both nominal and pronominal, are cross-referenced with a Subject/mood prefix which is attached to the verb stem in realis tense. These Subject/mood prefixes differ to Independent personal pronouns as there is a further Dual distinction in addition to the Singular and Plural distinction. Subject/mood prefixes are also obligatory in all verbal constructions, unlike Independent pronouns. Below is a table showing the Subject/mood paradigm:
The table shows that the 3rd person form is irregular.
In Neverver there are gendered pronominal nouns, with vinang expressing a female and mang expressing a male. These can be obligatory modified with a demonstrative or a relative clause. Gender can also be expressed using 3rd person singular pronouns. In Neverver, when there are two human participants involved of different genders, one is expressed with a gender-coded form and the other can be coded with an optional gender-neutral ei. The gender-coded form to express a female participant as the grammatical subject of the first clause, is encoded in the Subject/mood prefix i-. And if the male becomes the grammatical subject in the next clause, this is distinguished with the male pronominal-noun mang.
|'She came and the||man married her'||[NVKS10.112]|
In the above example there is a male and female participant involved. The subject/mood prefix i- encodes that the female is the subject of the first clause. When the subject shifts to the male, the pronominal-noun mang is used to show this shift. And then to show the female has become the object again, the 3rd person pronoun ei expresses this.
Prefixes derive Possessive determiners in Neverver. Most of these begin with the possessive prefix t-. In Neverver, Possessive determiners refer exclusively to human possessors, and a different construction is used to express non-human possessors. Below is a table showing the Possessive determiners paradigm:
(t-)nam ~ (t-)mam
|3rd person||titi~ei||titi-dr ~ adr|
3. Possessive pronouns
Prefixes also derive Possessive pronouns in Neverver. Possessive pronouns are made up of a Nominalising prefix at- and the Possessive prefix t-, which are both attached to the Base pronominal morpheme (the Independent pronoun). Furthermore when the Nominalising prefix is attached, the Possessive pronoun can become the head of the noun phrase by itself. Below is a table showing the Possessive pronoun paradigm:
As the table shows, the 3rd person form uses the suppleted titi morpheme rather than the Independent personal pronoun form. For example at-t-na means 'mine' and at-titi-dr means 'theirs'.
In Neverver, Personal nouns are one of the three main noun classes, along with Common nouns, and Local nouns. These Personal nouns can include Personal proper names and Personal kin terms. Many of the women's Personal proper names are traditionally marked with the morphemes le- or li, however there is no morpheme associated with men's traditional Personal proper names. Never also has a small set of kin terms that can express family relations as well as other name avoidance strategies. (Barbour, p.87-90)
- Neverver at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lingarak". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Barbour, Julie (2012). A Grammar of Neverver. Germany: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 24–25, 44, 72–108. ISBN 9783110289619.