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A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian

The people who live in the Boumaa region of the Fijian island of Taveuni speak a dialect of Fijian that is mutually intelligible with Standard Fijian, the two differing as much perhaps as do the American and British varieties of English. During 1985, R. M. W. Dixon—one of the most insightful of linguists engaged in descriptive studies today—lived in the village of Waitabu and studied the language spoken there. He found in Boumaa Fijian a wealth of striking features unknown in commonly studied languages and on the basis of his fieldwork prepared this grammar.

Fijian is an agglutinating language, one in which words are formed by the profligate combining of morphemes. There are no case inflections, and tense and aspect as shown by independent clitics or words within a predicate complex. Most verbs come in both transitive and intransitive forms, and nouns can be build up regularly from verbal parts and verbs from nouns. The language is also marked by a highly developed pronoun system and by a vocabulary rich in areas of social significance.

In the opening chapters, Dixon describes the Islands’ political, social, and linguistic organization, outlines the main points of Fijian phonology, and presents an overview of the grammar. In succeeding chapters, he examines a number of grammatical topics in greater detail, including clause and phrase structure, verbal syntax, deictics, and anaphora. The volume also includes a full vocabulary of all forms treated in discussion and three of the fifteen texts recorded from monolingual village elders on which the grammar is based.

396 pages | 3 maps | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1988

Language and Linguistics: Language Studies

Table of Contents

Organisation and Cross-references
1. Introduction
1.1 Political organisation
1.2. Language and life in Boumaa
1.3. Linguistic profile of Fijian
1.4. Fijian within the Austronesian language family
1.5. Data base for this study
2. Phonology
2.1. Consonants
2.2. Vowels and diphthongs
2.3. Phonotactics
2.4. Stress
2.5. Intonation
2.6. Diachronic change
3. Word
3.1. Phonological word
3.2. Grammatical word
3.2.1. Roots
3.2.2. Affixes
3.2.3. Function items
3.2.4. Pronouns
4. Syntactic Overview I—Clause and Phrase Structure
4.1. Word classes
4.2. Predicate structure
4.3. Noun phrase structure
4.4. Clausal NPs
4.5. Other subordinate clauses
4.6. Semi-auxiliary verbs "not," "can," etc
4.7. Peripheral clause constituents
4.8. Fronting
4.9. Relative clauses
4.10. Derivational affixes
5. Syntactic Overview II—Verbs
5.1. Syntactic orientation of verbs—A and O types
5.2. Verbs with two transitive forms
5.3. The principles of verbal syntax
5.3.1. Passive
5.3.2. Reduplication
5.3.3. Object incorporation
5.3.4. Va’a- derivations
6. Pronouns
6.1. Meanings
6.2. Functions
6.3. Forms
6.4. Analysis
6.5. Third person singular
7. Deictics
7.1. Demonstratives
7.1.1. Forms
7.1.2. Function and meaning
7.2. Deictic verbs
7.3. Deictic noun
8. Predicate
8.1. Predicate head
8.1.1. Verbs and adjectives as predicate head
8.1.2. Noun phrase as predicate head
8.1.3. Pronoun as predicate head
8.2. Prefatory material
8.2.1. Subject pronouns
8.2.2. Tense-apart markers
8.2.3. Discourse markers
8.2.4. Order
8.3. Modifiers
8.3.1. Stance-aspect
8.3.2. Finish and start
8.3.3. Locational markers
8.3.4. Directional comparatives
8.3.5. Modal modifiers
8.3.6. Markers of intensity
8.3.7. "All" and "alone"
8.3.8. Other modifiers
8.3.9. Order of modifiers
8.4. Adverbs
9. Noun Phrase
9.1. Structure of simple NPs
9.2. Structure of complex NPs
9.3. Articles
9.4. Mataqali "kind of"
9.5. Lexical modifiers
9.6. Grammatical modifiers and adverbs
10. Possession
10.1. Parameters
10.2. Constructions
10.3. Alternative realisations
10.4. NP ni NP
10.5. Bound nouns
10.6. Existential constructions of "having"
11. Clausal NPs
11.1. Structure
11.2. Function
12. Classifiers
12.1. With nouns
12.2. With adjectives
12.3. With verbs
12.4. Particular classifier contrasts
13. Numbers
13.1. The number system
13.2. Syntax
13.2.1. As predicate head
13.2.2. In a noun phrase
13.2.3. In a prepositional NP
13.2.4. With time and distance words
13.2.5. Lewe
13.3. Ordinals
13.4. Veimaamaa "half" and fractions
13.5. Distributives
14. Prepositions
14.1. Form
14.2. Functions of i and mai
14.3. ’Ei "together with"
14.4. The grammaticisation of baleta
14.4.1. Preposition baleta - baleti "concerning"
14.4.2. Conjunction baleta ni "because"
15. Time Expressions
15.1. Time words
15.2. Other time expressions
16. Interrogatives
16.1. Cei "who"
16.2. Cava "what, which"
16.3. Vei "where"
16.4. Vica "how many/much, some"
16.5. (Na)ica "when"
16.6. ’Uca "to do what"; va’a- cava "to do how"
17. Word Derivations
17.1. Prefix vei-, collective
17.1.1. With nouns and time words
17.1.2. With kin terms
17.1.3. With verbs
17.1.4. Vei . . . ya’i/ya’ina "all over the place"
17.2. Prefix va’a-, causative, etc
17.3. Prefix +i- deverbal

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