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Title: A Grammar of Abma, a Language of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
Contributor(s): Schneider, Cynthia  (author)orcid ; Siegel, Jeffrey Alan (supervisor); Baker, Brett  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This study constitutes a detailed grammatical description of the Suru Mwerani dialect of the Abma language. Abma is spoken by approximately 7,800 people in the central part of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It is transmitted inter-generationally, and children living on Pentecost grow up speaking Abma as their first language. All data obtained for this study is original and is derived from native speakers of the language. Recordings of native speakers were made between May of 2003 and July of 2006, on Pentecost Island and in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Abma has complex verbal morphology, with verb roots that undergo initial consonant mutation in specific morphosyntactic environments, as well as affixation and cliticisation, compounding, and bimoraic reduplication. The transitive and partitive morphemes also interact in particularly complex ways with their morphosyntactic environment. Nouns and Noun Phrases are simpler in composition but nevertheless take affixation and cliticisation, reduplication, and compounding. There are also regular processes that derive nouns and verbs. Basic constituent order is SVO, and predicates can be either verbal or non-verbal. Abma sentences also grammatically encode reflexivity, as well as passivisation, which is an uncommon feature of Oceanic languages. Relative clauses are widely exploited, with NPs holding various positions within the main clause being amenable to modification by a relative clause. Abma also has three types of verb serialisation that are used for expressing aspectual, modal, and adverbial functions. Clause chains are also evident, but their range of form and usage is limited. While this study is as comprehensive and detailed as it can be given the time and resources available, there is scope for more investigation in every major area of the thesis. It is hoped that an ongoing enthusiasm and interest in language preservation, from linguists and native speakers alike, will help to maintain the relative linguistic vitality of Abma.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 2006 - Cynthia Claire Schneider
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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