Nikolaus P. Himmelmann (University of Bochum) & John U. Wolff (Cornell University)
Ratahan is an endangered Austronesian language spoken in the district of Ratahan, province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is estimated that now only 500 good speakers of Ratahan are left, mostly over 60 years of age, and a few thousand semi-speakers. Ratahan is located in the midst of the Minahasa region but belongs to the Sangiric subgroup, spoken at some distance to the north of Ratahan, of which to date only one language (Sangirese) has been documented in some detail.
Typologically, Ratahan resembles the languages of the Philippines, and the verbal morphology shows many of the same categories as, for example, the Tagalog verbs. Much of the Ratahan affixational morphology is clearly cognate with affixes in Philippine languages. With regard to noun phrase marking, pronominal clitics, and word order, however, there are strong differences from the Philippine languages. Furthermore, a system of markers for spatial deixis exists which is far more elaborate than that commonly found in Austronesian languages.
The volume contains an outline of the phonology and the basic morphosyntax, a somewhat more elaborate discussion of the verbal morphology and of the system of spatial orientation marking, a sample text, and a map of the language area. The analysis is based on a few hours of recorded spontaneous speech.
The introductory chapter discusses the present state of the language and some basic procedures in documenting a language. There is also an Indonesian summary, and the examples and the text are glossed in both Indonesian and English. The Indonesian has been added to make the materials accessible to the members of the Ratahan community, all of whom are literate in Indonesian.
ISBN 9783895861475. Languages of the World/Materials 130. 100pp. 1999.