LINGUIST List 13.1879

Tue Jul 9 2002

Books: Language Description: Rotuman, M.Vamarasi

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  • LINCOM EUROPA, Austronesian linguistics: Rotuman by Marit Vamarasi

    Message 1: Austronesian linguistics: Rotuman by Marit Vamarasi

    Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002 15:59:29 +0200
    From: LINCOM EUROPA <>
    Subject: Austronesian linguistics: Rotuman by Marit Vamarasi


    Marit Vamarasi Northeastern Illinois University

    The Rotuman language is spoken by residents of the island of Rotuma, which lies 465 kilometers northwest of Viti Levu, Fiji, by Rotumans who live on Fiji's main islands, as well as by Rotumans who reside overseas. There are approximately 9,000 speakers in all.

    Rotuman is not closely related to any other language. It is classified as a member of the Central-Eastern Oceanic subgroup, along with Fijian and the Polynesian languages, within the Austronesian language family. Rotuman has some unique features. The most notable is the fact that all lexical words have two forms, called "complete" and "incomplete" or "long" and "short", which are used in certain syntactico-semantic contexts. The incomplete is derived from the complete by one of four processes: metathesis, umlauting, vowel deletion, and diphthongization.

    These processes all serve to shorten a word by one mora, and, in most cases, cause the word to end in a consonant, a feature which is unusual for an Oceanic language. These processes also produce several vowels in addition to the usual five of other Oceanic languages.

    Most of the significant work on the Rotuman language was done by Maxwell Churchward in the 1930's. This is the first comprehensive study of the language to be done in 60 years.

    ISBN 3 89586 303 3 Languages of the World/Materials 60pp. USD 32 / EUR 32/ � 19.90.

    Free copies of LINCOM'S new catalogue "project line 12" are now available from

    A Students' and course discount of 40% is offered to the above title.

    Ordering information for individuals: Please give us your creditcard no. / expiry date. Prices in this information include shipment worldwide by airmail. A standing order for this series is available with special discounts offered to individual subscribers.

    NEW: LINCOM electronic n.e.w.s.l.e.t.t.e.r. Monthly up-dates. Go to

    LINCOM EUROPA, Freibadstr. 3, D-81543 Muenchen, Germany; FAX +49 89 62269404.



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    Thursday, January 17, 2002