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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Taba (Makian Dalam): Description of an Austronesian language from Eastern Indonesia Add Dissertation
Author: John Bowden Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Melbourne, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation;
Subject Language(s): Nobonob
Director(s): Mark Durie

Abstract: This dissertation is a descriptive grammar of Taba (also known as Makian Dalam or East Makian). Taba is an Austronesian (South Halmahera / Eastern Malayo-Polynesian) language spoken by over 20,000 people on Makian island and neighbouring areas of North Maluku in eastern Indonesia.

Taba has typologically unusual word-order correlations, explained as a result of contact between Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages of the North Maluku sprachbund. It is predominantly a head-marking language with basic AVO word order, is both post- and prepositional, with most modifiers following the head noun, but with the genitive preceding the head noun. Taba has an unexceptional inventory of 15 indigenous consonants and 5 indigenous vowels. A fairly complex variety of intial geminate consonants and consonant clusters are found. Many of the consonant clusters are exceptional with respect to widely held expectations based on hierarchies of sonority. Pervasive metathesis and a variety of different productive reduplicative processes are topics also discussed.

Taba has a split-S system of pronominal cross-referencing and there is no adjectival word class. It is tentatively concluded that Taba recognises no subject or object grammatical relations, but only Actors and Undergoers. Like many Austronesian languages, Taba also has a large number of 'precategorial roots', i.e. morphological roots that have no membership in any part of speech category until after they have been morphologically derived.

A wide variety of valence affecting morphology is found in the language, including applicatives and causatives.

Taba has a number of numeral classifiers which occur as either prefixes or proclitics, obligatorilly attached to numeral roots. The important ethnosemantic categories of directionals are treated in some detail, along with their morphology and syntax. Some of the directional roots can be used to function deictically, just like the demonstratives.

Taba has quite productive verb serialisation. Both prepositional and postpositional phrases are found in the language and the dissertation contains discussion of the optional licensing of some nominals with both an applicative suffix and an adposition.

Clause combining and some aspects of indirect speech acts and politeness are also discussed.

An introduction to Taba geography and history as well as a brief ethnographic sketch are provided. Some sociolinguistic issues such as name taboo and speech levels are also addressed in the introduction as is the spread of Malay amongst Taba speakers and its role in the endangerment of the language.