By Valérie Guérin
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Mavea: An Oceanic Langugage of Vanuatu
4 Linguo-labials and language death The loss of phonological distinction can be interpreted as a sign of language obsolescence (Campbell and Muntzel 1989:186), given that linguistic changes prompted by language obsolescence tend in general towards simplification (Seliger and Vago 1991:6). ” The fact that the majority of elder Ma˝vea speakers do not use linguo-labials anymore could suggest that their parents had already lost them or that today’s elders stopped using them themselves while acquiring the language about fifty to seventy years ago.
The shift back to labials is only partially age-based. One of the main consultants, EVK, used linguo-labials on a fairly regular basis. She was in her sixties 15 2 Phonology when the data were gathered. Some speakers who were older than EVK and just as proficient in the language, never used linguo-labials. On the other hand, another consultant, in his fifties, was found to use linguo-labials only while narrating the traditional legend Tavua rar Sio ‘Conch and Kingfisher’ and nowhere else. 4 Linguo-labials and language death The loss of phonological distinction can be interpreted as a sign of language obsolescence (Campbell and Muntzel 1989:186), given that linguistic changes prompted by language obsolescence tend in general towards simplification (Seliger and Vago 1991:6).
12 below provides the list of combinations that were found in the corpus. The table reads as follows: the left column lists the first consonant in the series. The top row gives the second consonant. The numbers indicate the number of instances in which the combination was found in a subset of the data. Some examples are given in (71). Note that in these examples, two consecutive consonants are distributed over two syllables. 3 Vowel distribution There are no restrictions as far as the position of vowels in a word is concerned.
A Grammar of Mavea: An Oceanic Langugage of Vanuatu by Valérie Guérin