Lingustics seminar: Catriona Malau, Newcastle
Linguistics Seminar Series
Catriona Malau | University of Newcastle | Midday, Friday August 11 2023
Contact-induced change in kinterms of Atara Imere, a Vanuatu Polynesian Outlier
Atara Imere is spoken in the large village of Mele (Imere), just outside Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila. In Atara Imere today, none of the commonly used kinterms are directly inherited Polynesian terms, although some were in use when the language was documented in the 1970s and 1980s. Clark records the use of both Polynesian terms and those incorporated into the language through contact with neighbouring Efate languages. The system of kinterm use in Imere has been considerably impacted due to contact with English, Bislama and French language and culture, in addition to the influence of the non-Polynesian Efate languages. The borrowings, change and shift in this semantic domain provide a complex snapshot of the multifaceted elements which come into play with contact-induced change. There are both linguistic and non-linguistic motivations for some of the features incorporated in today’s system. This paper will summarise the different changes that have taken place in the system and their varying motivations.
Catriona Malau is a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle. Her research expertise is language description and documentation of Oceanic languages, specialising in Vanuatu languages.