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Title: A Descriptive Study of the Language of Ternate, the Northern Moluccas, Indonesia
Authors: Hayami-Allen, Rika
Keywords: Ternate - Grammar
Ternate-Tidore Languages
North Halmahera Languages
West Papuan Languages
Indo-pacific Languages
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: This is a descriptive study of the language spoken on the island of Ternate and some adjacent islands including Halmahera, in the northern Moluccas, eastern Indonesia. The study is based on data collected between May 1998 and April 1999 on the island of Ternate. The dissertation consists of description of phonology, morphology, and syntax, with some discussion of the orientation system and variations within the language. Although Ternatean is a West Papuan language, it has many Austronesian features and loanwords due to the long history of language contact. There are also some regional features, such as the orientation system,that are present in all languages in the northern Moluccas regardless the language families. Among West Papuan languages, Ternatean has more Malay-looking typology, such as SVO word order and a simplified inflectional system. Ternatean has a fairly simple phonology. It has five vowels and nineteen consonants, and the stress is predictable in native vocabulary and in most borrowed vocabulary. All affixes are prefixes, and the morphology is also relatively simple. There are two noun classes, human and nonhuman. There is no inflection on nouns. Verbs may take an optional subject clitic, but except for 1st person subject clitics, these are not used much in speech. No inflectional tense, aspect, or mood markings exist in the language. NPs have the possessor NP on the left of the head noun and all other modifiers on the right of the head noun, and VPs are left-headed. The word order is SVO with the negative marker in the sentence-final position. Non-verbal predicates occur immediately after the subject NP without a copula. The orientation system characteristic of this area is based on geographical features (land and sea). A brief comparison between Ternatean and Tidorese, the language spoken on the island of Tidore, and some variants found within Ternatean are included in the last two chapters. The dissertation also includes twelve texts and a word list which contains approximately 3,500 entries.
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