Teiwa

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Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-03-13, 3:50

I'd like to open a separate thread for at least one Papuan language other than Oirata for two reasons: 1. I don't think it's a particularly great idea to lump about 20 language families all together in one general "Papuan languages thread," and 2. I'm using the general thread for learning Oirata anyway, and I don't want to mix up whatever I say about this other language with those notes I've been making on Oirata.

Teiwa is a Papuan (i.e. non-Austronesian) language spoken on Pantar Island, just north of the island of Timor. Immediately east of Pantar is another island called Alor. The Papuan languages of both Alor and Pantar (a.k.a. "Alor-Pantar languages") are related to each other, and although this is not known for certain, they may be related to the Trans-New Guinea languages, which I guess would also include Oirata. Teiwa, like most of the Alor-Pantar languages, is highly endangered. I'm thinking of getting started on this language as well, because Papua New Guinea is (as I've said before on another thread) arguably the most linguistically diverse country on Earth, which leads me to believe that the Papuan languages are very diverse. Although Teiwa is "another Papuan language" spoken not very far away from Kisar, I'm sure it will turn out to be very different from Oirata; otherwise, I would think we could tell whether the two languages are related.

I plan to use this grammar in order to learn some Teiwa:

http://books.google.com/books?id=r7IrcQny1_gC

I may not be able to access the whole book (yet :P), but I think it has a lot more material than what I've found for Oirata so far. It even has a basic greeting in it (I checked :lol:).

Anyway, so far, I've learned that Teiwa is spoken basically in the northwestern part of the island, and, of the various villages where it is spoken, "the village of Lebang is considered the most important, central location of the Teiwa speakers and their ancestors" (p. 3), and it also appears to be the village where Teiwa is used the most (i.e. where it is least in danger of dying out). However, most of the author's data comes from another village, Madar. "Teiwa" is the clan name of the Teiwa people who speak this language; tei wa' means 'tree leaf' (in their language, I presume).

I've also learned a pit about this language's phonology. It has [q], which is really interesting to me; I've never seen a non-Formosan language spoken in the Pacific that had that sound, although that might just be due to my own ignorance. I also know that it has eight phonemic vowels: /i i: u u: a ɑ ɛ ɔ/. Oh, also, the apostrophe is the symbol for a glottal stop, just as in the orthographies of some of the Austronesian languages like Hawaiian. And, oh my God, it has a pharyngeal fricative (written in the orthography as <x>) that contrasts with /h/, just like in Arabic! Isn't that cool?

And I think that's about it for now! :)

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-04-02, 23:07

I'm learning more about the phonology of Teiwa. As I sort of mentioned before, there are two phonemic short high vowels, represented in the orthography as <i> and <u> (and corresponding to /i/ and /u/ respectively), and two phonemic long vowels <ii> and <uu>. The vowels <e> and <o> are both lax and apparently can be long in closed syllables. <a> corresponds to /ɑ/, which is always short (apparently), and <aa> corresponds to /a/, which has both short and long allophones. I'm not sure which is used when (yet).

Teiwa has the consonants /p b t d k g m n s w r l/. It also has /ŋ/, orthographically represented as <ng>, and /j/, orthographically represented as <y>. Nothing particularly surprising so far, as far as I can tell. It also has a phonemic glottal stop, represented in the orthography as <'>.

More interestingly, it has a contrast between /ɸ/ and /v/ (<f> and <v>, respectively). The allophones of /ɸ/ are [ɸ] and [p], and those of /v/ are [v] and [f]. Hmm, so that means [p] is an allophone of both /ɸ/ and /p/. From the (admittedly very few) examples I've seen in the grammar so far, it seems as if the [ɸ]-allophone can occur in all contexts where the [p]-allophone can but not vice versa; same with [v] and [f].

Teiwa also has a phonemic uvular stop /q/ (<q>) and, very unusually for languages of southeastern Indonesia (and otherwise reported mainly in Caucasian and (of course) Semitic languages according to the grammar), a contrast between /h/ and /ħ/ <x>. It appears as if /ɑ/ has the allophone [ɜ] after /ħ/ but before a sonorant.

OK, maybe not. God, I am so bad at describing the allophonic distribution of phonemes. The only words where we see [ɑ] next to [ħ] are in the words [ħɑf] 'fish' (wait a minute, it's <xaf>! So shouldn't that be [ħɑɸ]?) and [bɑħ] 'to hit (drum)'.

So, hmm...next to a labial?...Yeah, I guess that works. /ɑ/ is realized as [ɜ] when it is between /ħ/ and a labial. Elsewhere, it is either [a] or [ɑ], although I haven't managed to figure out that distribution, either. I hope this grammar will clarify all this for me later!

Oh wait, I guess elsewhere it's just [ɑ]. But then what about words like <hala'>, which is pronounced [ˈhɑ.laʔ]? We'll see, I guess...Actually, it looks like its pronounced [a] before a word-final glottal stop in words that are more than one syllable long.

Word-final stops appear to be unreleased (much like in (probably most varieties of) American English!), and when a mid vowel appears before any such stop (except the glottal stop), it is phonetically realized as long.

Finally, the greeting I was talking about in Teiwa is ha mat gi?, literally 'you take go', where I believe both of the verbs are in irrealis mood. It means 'where are you going?'.

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-05-15, 2:18

Ha mat gi? :P

I'm not finding much else to say that's particularly interesting (or rather, particularly clear!) about the phonology. Stress is apparently on the penultimate syllable if all the syllables are light (and words are at least usually made up of only 2-3 syllables at most anyway). If one of the syllables is heavy, I guess the stress goes on that syllable. But sometimes, stress can go on the final syllable, even when none of the vowels are long. Not really sure how that works. I think I'll just move on to grammar and stuff now. (Oh, also, the Global Recordings Network has some recordings in Teiwa, as well as in Deing, which is apparently mutually intelligible with Teiwa and which apparently other sources consider to be a dialect of it. They don't have any recordings for Oirata, though).

Like Oirata, Teiwa seems to be an SOV language with nominative-accusative alignment.

Oh, wait, there's something else about the phonology that's interesting. Possession is expressed through prefixes, and unless the allomorph of the prefix is just a consonant (i.e. it's attached to a vowel-initial word), it is always stressed when attached to a noun. Oh, and stress goes on the penultimate heavy syllable. (Not that that means anything much to me. I never really did get prosody or what exactly "heavy syllable" was supposed to mean. Doesn't it kind of depend on the language? :?).

And since my Internet connection is about to disappear in less than an hour, I guess I'll wrap this post up with just a few things: laxu'u, glossed as 'that one there' (and pronounced [laˈħɨʔɨ] or [laˈħɨ:]; apparently, two identical vowels that are right next to each other or even just separated by a glottal stop may be combined into a long vowel), serves to ground an event in real time and space, so the verb that accompanies it must be in realis mood. It isn't in the greeting ha mat gi? but when you add this word to it, it becomes ha mat gin laxu'u? 'where are you going over there?' where -n is the realis mood suffix.

Apparently laxu'u is just a demonstrative pronoun with the focus marker la-. Xu'u is glossed in this grammar as 'that (one)'.

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-19, 19:33

Ha mat gi? Ha mat gin laxu'u? (The only two phrases I actually know in Teiwa :lol:)

So today, I learned that the majority of Teiwa people are Christian, that "word order is rather fixed" (25), that the negative suffix (which is maan) appears after the verb, that possessors precede the possessum, and that otherwise, whatever modifies a noun (i.e. an adjective or demonstrative) comes after the noun.

I also learned that Papuan languages generally share certain features, but that there are a bunch of them that Teiwa does not share. :P For instance, Teiwa (like many Austronesian languages) has both /r/ and /l/ even though Papuan languages generally only have one of those. Some Papuan languages have cases and many more have gender, but Teiwa has neither. Teiwa has only free pronouns even though Papuan languages usually have at least one pronominal affix. It has inclusive and exclusive pronouns, just like the other Alor-Pantar languages (and Oirata!). There are some other features that Teiwa doesn't share with Papuan languages, but I don't think I'm familiar enough with other Papuan languages yet to really understand what most of those are.

Still, there are many features that it does share with other Papuan languages. One of the most obvious ones is the SOV word order, but also there's alienable/inalienable possession, which appears to be typical of Papuan languages. Oh, and apparently, it shows traces of a quinary numeral system, and such systems are common among Papuan languages, too! It also has final conjunctions and serial verb constructions, and both of these are found in many Papuan languages as well.

I also happened to see a few words that looked very similar to words I saw in Oirata. For example, I saw war for 'day' (compare wadu) and tar for 'rope' (compare taru).

And now I think the best thing to do would be to go back over those demonstratives (such as laxu'u). Apparently, there are two demonstratives, i.e. the previously mentioned xu'u 'that (one)' and xa'a, which can mean 'this' and I guess is best glossed as 'this (one)'. However, neither laxa'a nor laxu'u can be used to modify nouns, because they mean 'this one' and 'that one' respectively.

...OK, one more thing. The very first thing in Chapter 3 that I can see. :lol:

Lius ita'a me'? = Where is Lius? (ita'a = where; me' = to be in)
A uyan me'. = He's in the mountains. (a = 3SG (pronoun?); uyan = mountain)
A tag me'. = He's upstairs. (tag = up)
A yuun me'. = He's downstairs. (yuun = down)

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-08-26, 0:11

Just a few more phrases in Teiwa:

Uy nuk means 'one person'. Uy means 'person', and nuk means 'one'.

Then there are different words that mean 'a bit' depending on whether the noun being modified is a liquid or not. Liquids take kuuk, and non-liquids take grixi. So 'a bit of water' is yir kuuk, but 'a bit of rice' is qar grixi.

And finally, here's a way for me to review all(?) of those words/phrases!

Where are you going? = Ha mat gi?
Where're you going over there? = Ha mat gin laxu'u?
where = ita'a
to be in = me'
Where is Lius? = Lius ita'a me'?
He's in the mountains. = A uyan me'.
He's upstairs. = A tag me'.
He's downstairs. = A yuun me'.
person = uy
one = nuk
one person = uy nuk
a bit (of liquid) = kuuk
water = yir
a bit of water = yir kuuk
a bit (of solid) = grixi
rice = qar
a bit of rice = qar grixi

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-11-28, 19:15

OK, let's see whether I can quickly squeeze in two more posts within like the next hour. :lol: So, Massimiliano B posted this about two months ago (see here). I was just looking through it and saw a sentence in Teiwa I remember seeing in the grammar:

'So she sits down again. Sitting, she twines grass.' = Qau a ta ewar mis. Misan a ta man pi'i.
good = qau
he/she = a
topic marker = ta
return = ewar
sit = mis
sitting (sit + realis marker) = misan
grass = man
(to) twine = pi'i

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-08-24, 16:54

For a woman, at least, the phrase for 'my sister or parallel female cousin' is na-gas qai, whereas 'my brother or parallel male cousin' is n-ian qai, 'my father or paternal uncle' is n-oma, and 'my mother or maternal aunt' is na-xala'. Note that the pronunciation of xala' is given on p. 39. Here's some interesting information about this from p. 16 of the grammar, too:

"The Teiwa live in exogamous patrilineal clans: children belong to their father's clan. Teiwa is the name of a cluster of (sub-)clans with the same ancestors. The Teiwa branch out into two different genealogical subgroups (or moieties). Each moiety contains several clans..."

One moiety has the clans Baraqala, La Builan, Salanggalu, Maligi, Hukung, and Qailapi, whereas the other has Lambar, Kakalau, Lau Wad, Loxog, and Kaloman Goqar.

"Intermarriage is not allowed within a moiety, but it is allowed across the two moieties and outside the tribe." Parallel cousins are "classificatory siblings" according to this grammar, while paternal uncles and maternal aunts are "classificatory parents."

So, these kinship terms at least for a female speaker, to review, are:
my classificatory sister = nagas qai
my classificatory brother = nian qai
my classificatory father = noma
my classificatory mother = naxala'

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-07-16, 6:31

Okay, I'm going to be just as lazy with this language as I was with Oirata just a while ago (it's been almost a year since I touched this language as well...). I'll just add in one item that's related to the terms for classificatory siblings:

my child = noqai

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-25, 5:25

I think I'll just post a few more family-related terms and make this lesson short as usual:

my niece = narat (emaq)
my nephew = na'ii
dowry = go'oi paxal

Also, this is a short video showcasing three of the languages spoken on Alor and Pantar, namely Kaera (a Papuan language spoken in eastern Pantar), Alorese, and Teiwa, in that order:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXJi2aJqYEA

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Re: Teiwa

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-16, 6:23

Here's a sentence in Teiwa from Klamer's grammar that uses some of this kinship vocabulary: bif goqai un gasiban ma o'on 'her child is hiding behind her'. Bif means 'child', but goqai means 'her child' where g- indicates that it's her child (not my child or someone else's). Un is a progressive marker. Siban means 'behind', and ga-siban means 'behind her'. Klamer glosses ma as 'come', like in Thai! (And of course, a bit like in both Indonesian/Malay and Oirata). Klamer also glosses o'on as 'hide'. To say 'her child is hiding behind his mother', you'd say bif goqai un axala' gasiban ma o'on. Another phrase I just saw is 'baby frogs': mauqubar goqai non. Non is the plural nominal marker, and mauqubar means 'frog'.

Here's another new word, from around the same part of the grammar as "Lius ita'a me'?" etc. (in fact, just before all of that is where I found it, i.e. in the sentence uy ragan me'). I'll quiz myself over both that and the parts to the above sentences:

outside = ragan
child = bif
her child = bif goqai
behind her = gasiban
is hiding behind her = un gasiban ma o'on
-s = non
frog = mauqubar


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