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V’ënen Taut: Grammatical Topics in The Big Nambas Language of Malekula

V’ënen Taut: Grammatical Topics in The Big Nambas Language of Malekula presents a synchronic description of five different areas of the grammar of V’ënen Taut, a language spoken in Northwest Malekula in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. The data used in this project comes from roughly three and a half hours of recorded speech collected during two field trips to the village of Tenmaru in 2013. The areas of interest for this publication are nouns and the noun phrase, verbal prefixes, verbal suffixes, post-verbal modification, and clause structure. V’ënen Taut is often mentioned in phonology publications due to its use of linguo-labial consonants. V’ënen Taut is noted amongst other Malekula languages as having very rich verbal morphology. This work recognises five distinct prefix positions, three distinct suffix positions, and pronominal enclitics. The first prefix positon is filled by morphemes which code both grammatical person and mood. V’ënen Taut makes four mood distinctions: realis, irrealis, conditional, and imperative. The fifth prefix position is filled by four morphemes which code grammatical number categories: singular, paucal, plural, and impersonal. Rather than using verbal serialisation to indicate complex events and actions, V’ënen Taut uses a well-developed echo-subject system. A wide variety of semantic modifier suffixes indicates that verbal serialisation may have been a more productive grammatical feature of V’ënen Taut in the past. In addition to the many bound verbal modifiers, there are numerous free post-verbal modifiers, some of which can be inflected by pronominal enclitics. The basic word order of V’ënen Taut is predominantly SVO; although, post-verbal arguments can be moved to a clause initial position through constituent fronting. V’ënen Taut has intransitive and transitive verbs and both of these verb classes can have their valence increased through the use of the extended participant preposition a/an. Grammatical relations are marked using the nominative-accusative case marking system encoded though constituent order and nominal agreement morphology on the verb.
Type of thesis
Dodd, R. R. (2014). V’ënen Taut: Grammatical Topics in The Big Nambas Language of Malekula (Thesis, Master of Arts (Applied) (MA(Applied))). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9289
University of Waikato
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