A Grammar of Unua by Elizabeth Pearce

By Elizabeth Pearce

This publication describes the Unua language of Malakula, Vanuatu. The island of Malakula is understood to have, or to have had, a complete of approximately forty precise languages of which fewer than part were defined. The seven-hundred or so audio system of Unua also are fluent audio system of Bislama and the domain names of use for Unua have gotten extra constrained. Unua is therefore endangered and the documentation of the language in its current shape is particularly well timed.

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In other cases a double vowel sequence is found across morpheme boundaries involving a vowel-initial verb root preceded by vowel-final prefix: (37) These double vowel sequences are heard as occurring in separate syllables (as are the vowels of other sequences arising from prefixations). From my auditory perception of the pronunciations, it is only when the V2 of a V1 – V2 sequence is /i/ that the sequence is pronounced as a diphthong, rather than as a two-syllable sequence. However, there are two vocabulary items which attest to reductions in the case of /ao/ sequences.

Rhotics: /ɾ r/ Evidence for the phonemic contrast /ɾ/ versus /r/ is shown in minimal pairs in pronouns and in verb paradigms (18) and in minimal and near-minimal pairs in lexical word pairs (19). (18) (19) The examples in (18) and (19a) show the two rhotics occurring in syllable-initial positions and, in (19b) we see the two sounds contrasting in syllable-final positions. In syllable-final position, as in (19b), the trill is variably produced as a flap, resulting in neutralization of the /r/ versus /ɾ/ contrast.

Tryon (1976) presents vocabulary for 292 items from 179 locations in Vanuatu. His lists include data from Pangkumu and from Unua. Charpentier (1982) provides some 2,000 items of vocabulary for fifteen 15 southern Malakula languages, including Pangkumu, but not Unua. 2 and elsewhere. 2. Recent data collection I have collected language data in the Unua area between 2003 and 2011 in a total of seven field trips varying in length between ten days and ten weeks, with an average length of approximately four weeks.

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