Vera’a [feraʔa] , formerly known by its Mota name Vatrata, is an Oceanic language spoken on the western coast of Vanua Lava Island, in the Banks Islands of northern Vanuatu.
Vera’a was described in 2011 by linguist Stefan Schnell.
According to recently recorded oral local history, Vanua Lava was struck by a major earthquake and landslide in 1945 that devastated gardens and hamlets on its north-west coast, as a result of which the Vera'a community abandoned its previous settlements and resettled to its current main center of residence, the village of Vera'a (Vatrata). Vera'a is located about 4 km from the village of Vetuboso, the largest settlement on Vanua Lava that is inhabited mainly by speakers of the closely related language Vurës.
Together with speakers of Vera'a, speakers of the now moribund language Lemerig moved to the village of Vera'a. Lemerig is remembered by many residents of Vera'a, but is no longer used in everyday communication. It is likely that the now de facto loss of the Lemerig language is the result of natural disaster and subsequent resettlement movements.
Vera’a has 7 phonemic vowels, which are all short monophthongs:
In Vera'a there are two types of possessive constructions recorded, that of direct possessive constructions and indirect possessive constructions. 119 Similar to other Oceanic languages, the distinctions between directly and indirectly possessed nouns in Vera’a appear to generally correspond to the semantic distinctions seen between inalienable and alienable possession.:
In both direct and indirect possessive constructions there are a further three construction sub-types based on the expression of the possessor. The three types of possessor constructions are as follows:
In order to express the possessor as a pronoun, possessive suffixes are used. Stefan Schnell reports that they “are considered pronominal in nature because they have specific, definite referents and inflect for the same categories as personal pronouns.” 121:
In Vera’a, direct possession primarily expresses inalienable or inherently given relationships. 121:
These types of relationships can be seen through expression of: 57–58:
Direct possessive constructions consist of the possessum, that of which is being possessed, and the possessor. This structure tends to follow a possessum-possessor order. The possessum is expressed as a bound noun while the possessor can be expressed as either: 121:
The bound noun possessum will take one of these three possessor constructions as shown below: 119:
'your wife / husband'
ART home-LK ART person.name
ART spouse-LK ART person.name
ēn neln̄o- ’an̄sara
ART voice- person
'voice of a person, i.e. a human voice'
ēn deln̄o- ’ama’
ART ear- devil
'ears of a devil / devil ears'
In summary the constructions can be described as follows:
|(1) Pronoun||[possessum NP-possessive suffix]|
|(2) Personal NP||[possessum NP-n] + [personal NP]|
|(3) Common NP||[possessum NP] + [common NP]|
Indirect possessive constructions primarily express alienable possession, that is a possession that is more easily terminated. The possessor is not directly expressed on the possessum noun, rather the possessor is expressed on a possessive classifier. This construction results in the possessum and the possessor being less morphologically dependent on one another. Consequently, this construction allows for the possessor to appear in different positions syntactically and for the possessor to be able to form a standalone NP with the possessum NP being omitted from speech. 133:
Indirect possessive constructions are divided further into two types, labelled Indirect Possessive Construction Type 1 and Type 2 respectively. In addition to both types, indirect possessive constructions also have several different functions, those being the anaphoric/generic use of a classifier (elided NP), the adnominal recipient construction and recipient / beneficiary construction. 133 The different functions of indirect possessive constructions are further explained in Stefan Schnell's A Grammar of Vera'a: an Oceanic language of North Vanuatu, chapter 6. :136–138:
In an indirect possessive construction, the possessum is a free noun and the possessor is hosted by a possessive classifier which mediates the syntactic relation between the possessed and possessor. 134 There are eight possessive classifiers that each express their own respective function and the types of relations that indirect possessive constructions express.:
|go-||'s.th. to eat'|
|mo-||'s.th. to drink'|
|ko-||'s.th. to use as vessel'|
|m̄o-||'s.th. use as house'|
|bolo-||'s.th. of customary value'|
|nō-||'s.th. personally owned'|
|qo-||'s.th. used to sleep, rest'|
|mu-||'s.th. owned' / other|
In the Indirect Possessive Construction Type 1, the possessive classifier is expressed as a bound morpheme with the possessor being expressed as either: 134:
The possessive classifier will take one of these three possessor constructions as shown below: 120–121:
n qe'an go-ruō
ART ground POSS.CLF-3D
'their (two) ground to eat from'
n nak ko-k
ART canoe POSS.CLF-1SG
n nak mu-n eQo’
ART canoe POSS>CLF-LK ART person.name
ēn gie mo-n e’uvusm̄ēl
ART kava POSS.CLF-LK ART high.chief
'the kava of the high chief (to drink)'
n gie mo ’uvusm̄ēl
ART kava POSS.CLF high.chief
'the kava of a high chief (to drink)'
n laklak mu ’ama’
ART dance POSS.CLF devil
'a dance of ghosts / a ghost dance'
In summary the constructions are as follows:
|(1) Pronoun||[possessum NP] + [possessive classifier-possessive suffix]|
|(2) Personal NP||[possessum NP] + [possessive classifier-n] + [personal NP]|
|(3) Common NP||[possessum NP] + [possessive classifier] + [common NP]|
In an Indirect Possessive Construction of Type 2, the possessive classifier precedes the possessed noun. The result of this, is that the possessive classifier and the possessum form a complex NP. The possessor is exclusively expressed by a pronominal possessive suffix. 135–136:
maranaga go-dē=nkēl-bigbig rōwē
chief POSS.CLF-1PL.INCL =ART bog- 'meat' down.at.the.sea
'Chief, a big 'meat' for us (to eat) is down at the sea.'
In summary the construction is as follows:
|(1) Pronoun||[possessive classifier-possessive suffix] + [possessum NP]|
Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family spoken by some 350,000–450,000 ethnic Fijians as a native language. The 2013 Constitution established Fijian as an official language of Fiji, along with English and Fiji Hindi, and there is discussion about establishing it as the "national language". Fijian is a VOS language.
Máku, also known as Mako, is an unclassified language and likely language isolate once spoken on the Brazil–Venezuela border in Roraima along the upper Uraricoera and lower Auari rivers, west of Boa Vista, by the Jukudeitse. 300 years ago, the Jukudeitse territory was between the Padamo and Cunucunuma rivers to the southwest.
East Ambae is an Oceanic language spoken on Ambae, Vanuatu. The data in this article will concern itself with the Lolovoli dialect of the North-East Ambae language.
Tamambo, or Malo, is an Oceanic language spoken by 4,000 people on Malo and nearby islands in Vanuatu.
Anejom̃ or Aneityum is an Oceanic language spoken by 900 people on Aneityum Island, Vanuatu. It is the only indigenous language of Aneityum.
Roviana is a member of the North West Solomonic branch of Oceanic languages. It is spoken around Roviana and Vonavona lagoons at the north central New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. It has 10,000 first-language speakers and an additional 16,000 people mostly over 30 years old speak it as a second language. In the past, Roviana was widely used as a trade language and further used as a lingua franca especially for church purposes in the Western Province but now it is being replaced by the Solomon Islands Pijin. Few published studies on Roviana language include: Ray (1926), Waterhouse (1949) and Todd (1978) contain the syntax of Roviana language. Corston-Oliver discuss about the ergativity in Roviana. Todd (2000) and Ross (1988) discuss the clause structure in Roviana. Schuelke (2020) discusses grammatical relations and syntactic ergativity in Roviana.
Ughele is an Oceanic language spoken by about 1200 people on Rendova Island, located in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
The Wuvulu-Aua language is spoken on Wuvulu and Aua Islands by speakers scattered around the Manus Province of Papua New Guinea. Although the Wuvulu-Aua language has a similar grammatical structure, word order, and tense to other Oceanic languages, it has an unusually complex morphology.
Biak, also known as Biak-Numfor, Noefoor, Mafoor, Mefoor, Nufoor, Mafoorsch, Myfoorsch and Noefoorsch, is an Austronesian language of the South Halmahera-West New Guinea subgroup of the Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages.
Paamese, or Paama, is the language of the island of Paama in Northern Vanuatu. There is no indigenous term for the language; however linguists have adopted the term Paamese to refer to it. Both a grammar and a dictionary of Paamese have been produced by Terry Crowley.
Papuan Malay or Irian Malay is a Malay-based creole language spoken in the Indonesian part of New Guinea. It emerged as a contact language among tribes in Indonesian New Guinea for trading and daily communication. Nowadays, it has a growing number of native speakers. More recently, the vernacular of Indonesian Papuans has been influenced by Standard Indonesian, the national standard dialect. It is mainly spoken in coastal areas of West Papua alongside 274 other languages spoken here.
Xârâcùù, or Kanala, is an Oceanic language spoken in New Caledonia. It has about 5,000 speakers. Xârâcùù is most commonly spoken in the south Central area of New Caledonia in and around the city of Canala and the municipalities of Canala, Thio, and Boulouparis.
Mavea is an Oceanic language spoken on Mavea Island in Vanuatu, off the eastern coast of Espiritu Santo. It belongs to the North–Central Vanuatu linkage of Southern Oceanic. The total population of the island is approximately 172, with only 34 fluent speakers of the Mavea language reported in 2008.
Dom is a Trans–New Guinea language of the Eastern Group of the Chimbu family, spoken in the Gumine and Sinasina Districts of Chimbu Province and in some other isolated settlements in the western highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Mortlockese, also known as Mortlock or Nomoi, is a language that belongs to the Chuukic group of Micronesian languages in the Federated States of Micronesia spoken primarily in the Mortlock Islands. It is nearly intelligible with Satawalese, with an 18 percent intelligibility and an 82 percent lexical similarity, and Puluwatese, with a 75 percent intelligibility and an 83 percent lexical similarity. The language today has become mutually intelligible with Chuukese, though marked with a distinct Mortlockese accent. Linguistic patterns show that Mortlockese is converging with Chuukese since Mortlockese now has an 80 to 85 percent lexical similarity.
Tiri, or Mea, is an Oceanic language of New Caledonia.
Merei or Malmariv is an Oceanic language spoken in north central Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu.
Neve’ei, also known as Vinmavis, is an Oceanic language of central Malekula, Vanuatu. There are around 500 primary speakers of Neve’ei and about 750 speakers in total.
Longgu (Logu) is a Southeast Solomonic language of Guadalcanal, but originally from Malaita.
Litzlitz, also known as Naman, is an endangered Oceanic language of central Malakula, Vanuatu. Many of the languages in Malakula can be referred to by different names, Litzlitz being an example of this. Naman was spoken in central Malakua in an area referred to as the "Dog's Neck" by the locals. The territory over which the Naman language was spoken is about 13 kilometers. This language once had many speakers, but now has been classified as a dying language with only fifteen to twenty native speakers. Native Naman speakers who one resided in the small villages of Metenesel in the Lambumbu area of Malakula had moved to what is now known as the Litzlitz village. They had moved because of diseases such as influenza and other epidemics, which contributed to the population decrease in the Naman speakers. Malakula has many languages, however Litzlitz has become the dominant language of the Northeast Malakula area.