OLAC Record

Title:A Comprehensive Comparison of Lexemes in the Major Languages of Tanna, Vanuatu

Tanna Island in Vanuatu has five major languages and perhaps as many as two dozen dialects. However, only a few grammar sketches and dictionaries have been published on the languages of Tanna. In this document, more than 1,700 of the commonly used lexemes in all of the five major languages as well as a dialect spoken on Tanna are presented in one volume. Rather than eliciting the data from wordlists based on the lingua franca, the lexemes have been gleaned from full-length dictionaries compiled by three linguists who have worked for a combined experience of 34 years on Tanna Island. A comparative analysis based on this lexical data has made it possible to determine degrees of similarity between all of the island’s languages. The dissimilarity in lexemes across languages has also been revealing, as it has shown idiosyncrasies of each of the languages. The comparative analysis at times has helped determine whether a particular lexeme is polysemous (i.e., having a range of related meanings) or whether the different meanings are homophones (i.e., different lexemes that are identical in form). It has also helped in establishing patterns of phonological changes and intra-island migration paths. Finally, while the languages of Tanna vary slightly in terms of their phonologies, this study has established a phonemic, island-wide orthography based on the lexical data.

Contributor (author):Nehrbass, Kenneth
Date (W3CDTF):2012
Description (URI):http://www.sil.org/resources/archives/47767
Extent:266 pages
Identifier (URI):http://www.sil.org/resources/archives/47767
Is Part Of:SIL e-Books 34
Language (ISO639):eng
Publisher:SIL International
Subject:Southwest Tanna language
Kwamera language
Lenakel language
North Tanna language
Whitesands language
cognates; consonant correspondence; vowel correspondence; homonyms; polysemous lexemes
Subject (ISO639):nwi
Type (DCMI):Text
Type (OLAC):language_description


Archive:  SIL Language and Culture Archives
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/sil.org
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OAI Info

OaiIdentifier:  oai:sil.org:47767
DateStamp:  2013-04-27
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Search Info

Citation: Nehrbass, Kenneth. 2012. SIL e-Books 34.
Terms: area_Europe area_Pacific country_GB country_VU dcmi_Text iso639_eng iso639_nwi iso639_tnk iso639_tnl iso639_tnn iso639_tnp olac_language_description olac_lexicon

Inferred Metadata

Country: Vanuatu
Area: Pacific

Up-to-date as of: Mon Jun 15 5:50:18 EDT 2015