A Grammar of Neverver by Julie Barbour

By Julie Barbour

Neverver is an Oceanic language spoken through simply over 500 humans at the excessive island of Malekula in Vanuatu. Drawing on an intensive corpus of box recordings gathered among 2004 and 2008, the research finds a truly attention-grabbing phonological method with six prenasalized segments, wealthy platforms of ownership, tense/aspect/mood marking, valence swap, and verb serialization. The grammar is of curiosity to experts in Oceanic and Austronesian linguistics, in addition to to common linguists, specifically these drawn to linguistic typology.

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Statements made about the vitality of the Neverver language are based almost entirely on my own ‘outsider’s’ observations of the speech community, although comments made to me by community members have shaped my interpretation of the context. 10 Introduction The language is being transmitted to children in almost all households, although there are a small number of households with young children where Bislama, or another local language, is the dominant tongue. Thus, while the absolute number of speakers is extremely small, transmission is still taking place in most households.

2. Education In the domain of education, community members report a traditional process whereby boys and girls were initiated separately into the roles and responsibilities of society. This has been replaced by English-medium formal education. There is no formal instruction either in the medium of Neverver or with Neverver as a subject. Neverver is used for basic organizational purposes in the local kindergartens, but even at the pre-school age, there is an emphasis on teaching English to prepare children for primary school.

We can hypothesize then, that the final plosive in this item is an epenthetic consonant which appears before vowel-initial morphemes. 3. below. A parallel process has been observed in data from the Unua language. Pearce (pers. ) reports the reanalysis of the word-final prenasalized alveolar plosive as a nasal. In Unua, the prenasalized velar plosive is beginning to reduce in the same environment. 4. The prenasalized bilabial trill /ɂ/ The status of [mɂ] as a distinct phoneme /ɂ/ deserves some consideration.

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