Tamambo language

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Tamambo
Malo
Native toVanuatu
RegionMalo Island, Espiritu Santo
Native speakers
4,000 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mla Malo[2]
Glottologmalo1243  Tamambo[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Tamambo,[3] or Malo,[1][2] is an Oceanic language spoken by 4,000 people on Malo and nearby islands in Vanuatu.

Phonology[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Tamambo vowel chart, from Riehl & Jauncey (2005:257)
Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

/i u/ become [j w] respectively when unstressed and before another vowel. /o/ may also become [w] for some speakers.

Consonants[edit]

Tamambo consonant phonemes[4]
Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar Velar
plain labiovelarized
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop prenasalized ᵐb ᵐbʷ ⁿd ᶮɟ
plain t k
Fricative voiced β βʷ x
voiceless s
Trill r
Lateral l

The prenasalized postalveolar stop /ᶮɟ/ is often affricated and voiceless, i.e. [ᶮtʃ].

Younger speakers often realize /β/ as [f] initially and [v] medially, while /βʷ/ is often replaced by [w].

/x/ is usually realized as [x] initially, but some speakers use [h]. Medially, it may be pronounced as any of [x ɣ h ɦ ɡ].

Writing system[edit]

Few speakers of Tamambo are literate, and there is no standard orthography. Spelling conventions used include:

Phoneme Representation
/ᵐb/ B initially, mb medially.
/ᵐbʷ/ Bu or bw initially, mbu or mbw medially.
/x/ C or h.
/ⁿd/ D initially, nd medially.
/ᶮɟ/ J initially, nj medially.
/k/ K.
/l/ L.
/m/ M.
/mʷ/ Mu or mw.
/n/ N.
/ŋ/ Ng.
/r/ R.
/s/ S.
/t/ T.
/β/ V.
/βʷ/ Vu or w.

Pronouns and person markers[edit]

In Tamambo, personal pronouns distinguish between first, second, and third person. There is an inclusive and exclusive marking on the first-person plural and gender is not marked. There are four classes of pronouns, which is not uncommon in other Austronesian languages:[5]

  • Independent pronouns
  • Subject pronouns
  • Object pronouns
  • Possessive pronouns.
Pronominal paradigm[6]
Independent pronouns Subject pronouns Object pronouns Possessive pronouns
1SG iau ku -(i)au -ku
2SG niho o -ho -m
3SG nia mo (realis) / a (irrealis) -a / -e -na
1PL.I hinda ka -nda -nda
1PL.E kamam ka kamam -mam
2PL kamim no kamim -mim
3PL nira na -ra -ra

Independent pronouns[edit]

Independent pronouns behave grammatically similarly to other NPs in that they can occur in the same slot as a subject NP, functioning as the head of a NP. However, in regular discourse, they are not used a great deal due the obligatory nature of cross-referencing subject pronouns. Use of independent pronouns is often seen as unnecessary and unusual except in the following situations:

  • Indicate person and number of conjoint NP
  • Introduce new referent
  • Reintroduce referent
  • Emphasise participation of known referent

Indicating person and number of conjoint NP[edit]

In the instance where two NPs are joined as a single subject, the independent pronoun reflects the number of the conjoint NP:

Ku vano.
1SG go
'I went.'

and

Nancy mo vano.
Nancy 3SG go
'Nancy went.'

Thus, merging the two above clauses into one, the independent pronoun must change to reflect total number of subjects:

Kamam mai Nancy ka vano.
IP:1PL.E PREP Nancy 1PL go
'Nancy and I went.'[7]

Introducing a new referent[edit]

When a new referent is introduced into the discourse, the independent pronoun is used. In this case, kamam:

Ne kamam mwende talom, kamam ka-le loli na hinau niaro.
But IP:1PL.E particular.one first IP:1PL.E 1PL-TA do ART thing EMPH
'But we who came first, [well] as for us, we do this very thing'[8]

Reintroduction of referent[edit]

In this example, the IP hinda in the second sentence is used to refer back to tahasi in the first sentence.

Ka tau tahasi mo sahe, le hani. Hani hinda ka-le biri~mbiri.
1PL put.in.place stone 3SG go.up TA burn burn IP:1PL.I 1PL-TA RED~grate
'We put the stones up (on the fire) and it’s burning. While it’s burning we do the grating [of the yams].'[9]

Emphasis on participation of known subject[edit]

According to Jauncey,[10] this is the most common use of the IP. Comparing the two examples, the latter placing the emphasis on the subject:

O vano?
2SG go
'Are you going?'

and

Niho o vano?
IP:2SG 2SG go
'Are you going?'[11]

Subject pronouns[edit]

Subject pronouns are an obligatory component of a verbal phrase, indicating the person and number of the NP. They can either co-occur with the NP or independent in the subject slot, or exist without if the subject has been deleted through ellipsis or previously known context.

Balosuro mo-te sohena.
nowadays 3SG-NEG the.same
'It's not like that nowadays.'[12]

Object pronouns[edit]

Object pronouns are very similar looking to independent pronouns, appearing to be abbreviations of the independent pronoun as seen in the pronoun paradigm above. Object pronouns behave similarly to the object NP, occurring in the same syntactic slot, however only one or the other is used, both cannot be used simultaneously as an object argument – which is unusual in Oceanic languages as many languages have obligatory object pronominal cross-referencing on the verb agreeing with NP object.

Mo iso ka turu ka vosai-a
3SG finish 1PL stand 1PL cook.in.stones-O:3SG
'Then we bake it in the stones.'[13]

Possessive pronouns[edit]

Possessive pronouns substitute for NP possessor, suffixing to the possessed noun in direct possessive constructions or to one the four possessive classifiers in indirect constructions.

Direct possession[edit]

Tama-k' mo vora bosinjivo.
Father-POSS:1SG 3SG be.born bosinjivo.area
'My father was born in the Bisinjivo area.'[14]

Indirect possession[edit]

ma-m ti
CLFR-POSS:2SG tea
'your tea'[15]

Negation[edit]

Negation in Tamambo involves the use of a negative particle; negative verb and negative aspectuals (semantics of time) to change positive constructions into negative ones.

Negation and the VP[edit]

The negative particle -te and negative aspectual tele ‘not yet’ and lete ‘never’ can appear in the same slot of the Verb Phrase, illustrated below:

Obligatory (bolded) and optional components of a VP in Tamambo[16]
1 Subject Pronoun 2 Modality markers of

Realis mo

FUT -mbo

3 Aspectual

ta

4 Aspectuals

le

male

Negative -te

Negative Aspectuals

tele

lete

5 Manner modifers 6 Head 7 Manner modifiers

Directionals

Non-resultative modifers

Both the negative aspectuals appear to be derived from the tense-aspect marker le and the negative particle -te [17]. All the optional modifiers in the VP are mutually exclusive thus; the negative morphemes allow no modifiers between them and the head of the VP[18].

Negative particle -te[edit]

The negative particle -te which expresses negative polarity on the verb[19] is a bound morpheme, meaning it must be attached to the subject pronominal clitic. The negative particle also occurs immediately before the verb noted in example [105][20]. Furthermore, example [105] demonstrates what Jauncey[21] terms a ‘negative progressive’; a way of expressing the negative in the present tense such as ‘he’s not doing it’ using the negative particle -te

Mo-te loli-a
3SG-NEG do-O:3SG
'He didn't do it'./ 'He's not doing it.' [105]

Negative aspectuals[edit]

The negative aspectuals are used to refer to different aspects of time. The aspectual lete ‘never’ is used to refer to event times that are prior to speech time noted in example [107] and [100][22].

Mo lete loli-a.
3SG never do-O:3SG
'He's never done it.' [107]


Na lete skul.
3PL never school
'They never went to church.' [100]


The negative aspectual tele ‘not yet’ is used only where the events are referring to an event time prior to or simultaneous with speech time noted in example [106] and [103][20].

Mo tele loli-a.
3SG not.yet do-O:3SG
'He's not yet done it'. [106]


Mo-iso na-le ovi, na-natu-ra na tele suiha...
3SG-finish 3PL-TA live PL-child-P:3PL 3PL not.yet strong
'So then they were living there, (but) their children were not yet strong...' [103]


Negation and modality[edit]

In Tamambo, modality can be expressed through the future marker –mbo and the two 3SG subject pronouns, mo (realis) and a (irrealis). In Tamambo realis is ‘the grammatical or lexical marking of an event time or situation that has happened (or not) or is happening (or not) relative to speech time’ and irrealis refers to ‘the grammatical or lexical marking of an event time or situation that may have happened, or that may or may not happen in the future’[23]. In Tamambo, the negative particle -te and aspectual lete can be used in conjunction with the 3SG irrealis a to express that a situation or action is not known to have happened. This is used because the negative markers cannot occur next to the future marker –mbo, however they can occur separately in the same construction evident in example [101][24] containing lete.

Mo matahu matan taura-na a-te mai.
3SG frightened SUB uncle-P:3SG 3SG-NEG come
'He is afraid that his uncle might not come.' [97]


Ne are sohen a lete lai na manji, a-mbo turu aie a hisi a mate...
but if like 3SG never take ART animal, 3SG-FUT stand there 3SG touch 3SG die
'But if it was such that he never caught any fish, he would stand there until he died...' [101]


In Tamambo, only the 3SG preverbal subject form has a irrealis, thus when -te is used with other preverbal subject pronouns, the time of event can be ambiguous, and phrases must be understood from context and other lexemes[25]. For example, [98][25] illustrates the various interpretations one phrase may have.

Mo matahu matan bula-na dam na-te sula
3SG frightened SUB CLFR-P:3SG yam 3PL-NEG grow
'S/he is/was afraid that her yams didn't grow/are not growing/won't grow/mightn't grow.' [98]


Negative verb tete[edit]

The negative verb tete is apart of Tamambo’s closed subset of intransitive verbs, meaning that it has grammatical limitations. For example, the verb tete can only be used in conjunction with the 3SG preverbal subject pronominal clitic. The negative verb tete can function with a valency of zero or one[26]. Valency refers to the number of syntactic arguments a verb can have.

Zero Valency[edit]

The most common use of the verb tete is illustrated in example [59][26], where the verb has zero valency. 

Mo tete.
3SG negative
'No.' [59]


The 3SG pronoun’s of a (irrealis) and mo (realis) are used in conjunction with tete to respond to varying questions depending on whether the answer is certain or not. Example [60][26] illustrates the use of a and tete in a construction to answer a question where the answer is not certain.

A kiri? A tete.
3SG.IRR rain 3SG.IRR negative
'Will it/might it rain?' [60] 'No.' [60]


However, if the answer is certain than mo and tete are used highlighted in example [61][26].

O-mbo vano ana maket avuho? Mo tete.
2SG.FUT go PREP market tomorrow 3SG negative
'Are you going to the market tomorrow?' [61] 'No.' [61]

Valency of one[edit]

If tete functions with a valency of one, then the intransitive subject must precede the verb similar to a prototypical verb phrase. In this situation, 3SG marking can only represent both the singular and plural, highlighted in example [65][27].


Tuai, bisuroi mo tete.
long.ago bisuroi.yam 3SG negative
'Long ago, there were no bisuroi yams.' [65]


Tete can also function with an ‘existential meaning’ illustrated in example [62][26], to express there was ‘no one/no people’.


Tuai, Natamabo, mo tete tamalohi...
long.ago Malo 3SG negative person
'Long ago, on Malo, there were no people...' [62]


Ambient serial verb constructions[edit]

The negative verb tete can also be used following a verb in an ambient serial verb construction. In Tamambo, a serial verb construction is defined by Jauncey[28] as ‘a sequence of two or more verbs that combine to function as a single predicate’. Furthermore, the term ambient in this verb construction refers to the phenomena when a verb, which follows a transitive or intransitive verb, makes a predication concerning the previous event rather than the participant[29]. When the negative tete verb is used in an ambient serial verb construction, tete makes a negative predication regarding the event expressed by the previous verb highlighted in example [64] and [65][30]. Furthermore, in this instance it is ungrammatical to insert other words between the negative verb and the previous verb.

Tama-na mo viti-a mo re "Tamalohi na dami-h mo tete"
Father-P:3SG 3SG speak-O:3SG 3SG say person 3PL ask-O:2SG 3SG negative
'Her father spoke to her and said "Men ask for you to no avail." [64]


...ka-te soari-a, ka sai-a mo tete
1PL-NEG see-O:3SG 1PL search-O:3SG 3SG negative
'...we didn't see it, we looked for it (but) there was nothing.' [65]


Negation and realis conditional sentences[edit]

Negative realis conditional sentences express an idea that something will happen if the condition is not met, such as an imperative or warning. The sentence outlines the conditions, and includes an ‘otherwise’ or ‘if not’ component[31]. The condition and the ‘if not’ (bolded) component occur together before the main clause illustrated in example [124][31].

Balosuro ku vuro-ho hina hamba-ku niani o laia-a, ro o lai-a ale a-tete-ro o mate!
present.time 1SG fight-O:2SG PREP wing-P:1SG this 2SG take-O:3SG thus 2SG take-O:3SG if 3SG-negative-thus 2SG die
'(So) now I'm going to fight you with these wings of mine and you defend yourself, so you defend yourself and if not then you're dead!' [124]


Abbreviations[edit]

1,2,3    first, second, third person

ART     article

CLFR   classifier

FUT     future

IRR      irrealis

NEG     negative particle

O         object pronoun

P          possessive pronominal

PL        plural

PREP   preposition

SG        singular

SUB     subject

TA       tense-aspect marker          

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Malo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: mla". ISO 639-3 Registration Authority - SIL International. Retrieved 2017-07-07. Name: Malo
  3. ^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tamambo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Riehl & Jauncey (2005:256)
  5. ^ Jauncey (2011:87)
  6. ^ Jauncey (2011:88)
  7. ^ Jauncey (2011:89)
  8. ^ Jauncey (2011:89)
  9. ^ Jauncey (2011:90)
  10. ^ Jauncey (2011:90)
  11. ^ Jauncey (2011:91)
  12. ^ Jauncey (2011:435)
  13. ^ Jauncey (2011:430)
  14. ^ Jauncey (2011:434)
  15. ^ Jauncey (2011:102)
  16. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy (2011). Tamambo: The language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. p. 323. ISBN 9780858836334.
  17. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 323. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  18. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 261. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  19. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 104. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  20. ^ a b Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 324. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  21. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 262. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  22. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 323. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  23. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 297. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  24. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 263, 323. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  25. ^ a b Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 263. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  26. ^ a b c d e Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 254. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  27. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 255. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  28. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 325. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  29. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 341. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  30. ^ Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 343. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.
  31. ^ a b Jauncey, Dorothy. (2011). Tamambo : the language of west Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. Canberra, A.C.T.: Pacific Linguistics. p. 416. ISBN 9780858836334. OCLC 730047545.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jauncey, Dorothy G. (1997). A Grammar of Tamambo, the Language of Western Malo, Vanuatu. Ph.D. dissertation, Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Jauncey, Dorothy G. (2002), "Tamambo", in Lynch, J.; Ross, M.; Crowley, T. (eds.), The Oceanic Languages, Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, pp. 608–625
  • Jauncey, Dorothy G. (2011). A Grammar of Tamambo, the Language of Western Malo, Vanuatu. Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Riehl, Anastasia K.; Jauncey, Dorothy (2005). "Illustrations of the IPA: Tamambo". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 35 (2): 255–259. doi:10.1017/S0025100305002197.