Yapese language

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Yapese
Native toFederated States of Micronesia
RegionIsland of Yap
Native speakers
5,130 (2005)[1]
Dialects
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-2yap
ISO 639-3yap
Glottologyape1250[2]

Yapese is a language spoken by the people on the island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia). It belongs to the Austronesian languages, more specifically to the Oceanic branch of that family. It has been difficult to classify it further, but Yapese may prove to be one of the Admiralty Islands languages.[3]

Orthography[edit]

The branches of the Oceanic languages. Orange is the Admiralties languages and Yapese, yellow-orange is St. Matthias, green is Western Oceanic, violet is Temotu, and the rest are Central-Eastern: dark red Southeast Solomons, blue Southern Oceanic, pink Micronesian, and ocher Central Pacific linkage.

Written Yapese uses Latin script. In Yapese spelling as practised until the 1970s, the glottal stop was not written with an explicit character. A word-final glottal stop was represented by doubling the final vowel letter. Glottalization of consonants was represented with an apostrophe. In the 1970s an orthography was created which uses double vowel letters to represent long vowels; and because of the ambiguity that would occur if the glottal stop was not written, the glottal stop was written with the letter q. This new orthography using the letter q is not in universal use, but many works and maps about Yap represent place names using the orthography and contain amounts of the letter q that are likely to be puzzling to persons not familiar with the language and the new orthography.

Phonology[edit]

Apart from a couple grammatical forms which are V, syllables are CV or CVC.

Consonants[edit]

Yapese is one of the relatively few languages in the world with ejective fricatives.[4] The Yapese ejective consonants are /pʼ tʼ kʼ θʼ/. There are also glottalised nasals /mˀ nˀ ŋˀ/ and approximants /jˀ wˀ lˀ/.[5]:30, 34-35

In the table below, each phoneme is listed to the left of the grapheme that represents it in Yapese orthography.

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal plain m m n n ŋ ng
glottalized m' n' ŋˀ ng'
Plosive plain p p t t k k ʔ q/[']
ejective p' t' k'
Fricative voiceless f f θ th s s ʃ ch x g (h) h
voiced β b ð d
ejective θʼ th'
Approximant plain l l j y/j w w
glottalized l' y' w'
Trill plain r r


/h/ <h> and /j/ <j> only occur in English and Japanese loans (/j/ <y> does occur in native words, however).

Vowels[edit]

In the table below, each phoneme is listed to the left of the grapheme that represents it in Yapese orthography.

Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close ɪ i iː ii ʊ u ʊː uu
Mid ɛ e eː ee œ ö œː oe ʌ a ɔ o ɔː oo
Near-open æ ë æː ea
Open a ä ae ɑː aa

Grammar[edit]

Morphology[edit]

Reduplication[edit]

Yapese makes use of reduplication for several morphological functions, including deriving stative adjectives from inchoative adjectives, as in (1a–b), as well as to make diminutives of verbs, as in (2a-b) [5]:112-114:

(1a)

roow

become.red

roow

become.red

'to become red'

(1b)

roow~roow

STAT~red

roow~roow

STAT~red

'to be red'

(2a)

toey

chop

toey

chop

'to chop'

(2b)

si-toey~toey

DIM-DIM~chop

si-toey~toey

DIM-DIM~chop

'to chop a little'

Pronouns[edit]

Yapese distinguishes between three numbers (singular, dual, and plural) and three persons (first, second, and third), as well as clusivity in its personal pronouns [5]:134.

Yapese independent personal pronouns
Singular Dual Plural
1.INCL gadow gadaed
1.EXCL gaeg gamow gamaed
2 guur gimeew gimeed
3 qiir yow yaed

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yapese". Ethnologue. 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Yapesic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Lynch, John; Malcolm Ross; Terry Crowley (2002). The Oceanic languages. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1128-4. OCLC 48929366.
  4. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 178. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
  5. ^ a b c Jensen, John Thayer (1977). Yapese Reference Grammar. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0476-3. OCLC 929721939.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jensen, John Thayer. 1977. Yapese–English Dictionary. (PALI Language Texts: Micronesia.) Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.

External links[edit]