LWM 240: Ura

Product no.: ISBN 9783895865107
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Terry Crowley
The University of Waikato

Ura is a moribund language, spoken fluently by only about half a dozen elderly people on the island of Erromango in southern Vanuatu. One of its closest relatives - Utaha - became extinct in 1954, though the remaining language of Erromango - Sye - is still universally spoken by a total of about 1400 people. Like the other languages of the southern islands of Vanuatu, Ura is a member of a fairly distinct grouping of structurally somewhat aberrant languages within the much larger Oceanic subgroup of Austronesian languages.

This description is a salvage study of the grammar of this otherwise sketchly known language. The area of greatest complexity is the verb morphology, where extensive patterns of root mutation result in verb roots appearing in quite different guises in a range of morphosyntactic environments. The language also has a set of inflectional categories of verbs that is unusually large, as well as morphological marking that is morphotactically unusually complex for an Oceanic language. However, while this description focuses to a considerable extent on moprhology, the major syntactic patterns are also presented.

ISBN 9783895865107. Languages of the World/ Materials 240. 60 pp. 1998.

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