Taba (Makian Dalam): description of an Austronesian language from Eastern Indonesia
AffiliationDepartment of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsBowden, J. (1997). Taba (Makian Dalam): description of an Austronesian language from Eastern Indonesia. PhD thesis, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 1997 Dr. John Bowden
This thesis 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 in chapter 2. Defining characteristics of the notions ‘word’, ‘clitic’, ‘affix’ and ‘particle’ as well as the notion ‘precategorial root’ are discussed in chapter 3. Parts of speech are defined in chapter 4, where it is argued that Taba has no adjectives. Basic clause types are outlined in chapter 5. Taba has a split-S system of pronominal cross-referencing (chapters 5, 6 & 8). Grammatical relations are discussed in chapter 6 where it is tentatively concluded that Taba recognises no subject or object grammatical relations, but only Actors and Undergoers. The noun phrase and ways of modifying noun phrases are introduced in chapter 7. Verbal morphology including a variety of valence affecting morphemes are discussed in chapter 8. Both nominally and verbally expressed possession are treated in chapter 9. Taba has a number of numerical classifiers which occur as either prefixes or proclitics, obligatorily attached to numeral roots. Quantification is discussed in chapter 10. The important ethnosemantic categories of directionals are treated in chapter 11, along with their morphology and syntax. Demonstratives and some directional roots can be used deictically, and these functions of the forms are also addressed here. Taba has quite productive verb serialisation which is discussed in chapter 12. Prepositional and postpositional phrases are discussed in chapter 13 and the optional adpositional or applicative licensing of some arguments is also addressed. Chapter 14 provides an overview of clausal modification, while chapter 15 discusses grammatical mood and the role of some indirect speech acts. Chapter 16 examines a variety of ways in which clauses may be linked together. 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 endangering language.
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