Aspect in Vamale – The example of balan

Rohleder, Jean (13 June 2019). Aspect in Vamale – The example of balan (Unpublished). In: Austronesian and Papuan Languages and Linguistics Conference (APLL 11). University of Leiden. 13.06.2019.

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Aspect in Vamale – The example of balan

Aspect in Kanak languages is expressed with morphemes which often combine aspectual, modal,
and temporal meanings. Overall, Vamale aspect closely resembles its counterparts in its northern
sisters Nêlêmwa, Caac, and Bwatoo. The differences between them, however, may shed some light on the development of aspectual systems in the region. For example, bwa ‘IPFV’, is found in
various forms across the North, the irrealis or virtual marker (b)o/ro as well, and Vamale balan
‘CONT’ could have a cognate in bara, the Nêlêmwa adversative. Others are unique to Vamale.
Based on original fieldwork, this talk outlines the aspectual system of Vamale and addresses the
„continuative” marker balan (< balan ‚piece of long object‘) in some detail. Balan is interesting
because while it can be used alone, it is used with many other aspectual markers and illustrates the
interplay of aspect and aktionsart. The talk will pay special attention to the following:

- Wordhood: Aspectual markers (Bril calls them „morphemes“ (e.g. Bril 2002:195), as does
Cauchard (2015:58)) are the only elements that can be inserted between a person marker and a verb but cannot separate an article from the nominal predicate it modifies. This raises the question
whether they are best seen as particles, clitics, or affixes. This paper argues for a particle status, on the basis of syntactic arguments.

- Position: Although most markers occur between the person marker and the predicate (nominal or verbal), repetitive mwa is a post-predicate particle.

- Combinability: Combinations are possible, in some cases preferred to the lone form, and may be
non-compositional. They only occur in the canonical position (i.e. between the person marker and
the predicate), which increases the appeal of a syntactic analysis of such elements.

e- bwa balan thapoke i vaaya
1SG IPFV CONT begin ART work
‚I am beginning the work, I have just begun the work‘

e- ja balan thapoke i vaaya
1SG ACC CONT begin ART work
‚I am finally about to begin the work, I have finally begun the work‘

- Function: The meaning of aspectual markers depends on their position and the aktionsart of the
verb phrase. Whether bwa ‚IPFV‘ occurs before or after the person marker subtly distinguishes
between related meanings (e.g. bwa cip-e xaleke “I still don’t see” vs. cip-e bwa xaleke “I’m not
still seeing”), as does the order of markers in combinations. This flexibility is not common to all
markers, however.

Bril, Isabelle. Le Nêlêmwa (Nouvelle Calédonie). Analyse Syntaxique et Sémantique. Langues et
Cultures Du Pacifique 16. Paris: Peeters, 2002.
Cauchard, Aurélie. A Study of Space in Caac, an Oceanic Language Spoken in the North of New
Caledonia. PhD dissertation, University of Manchester, 2014.
Rivierre, Jean-Claude, and Sabine Ehrhardt. Le Bwatoo et les dialectes de la région de Koné
(Nouvelle-Calédonie). Selaf 435. Paris, Louvain, Dudley: Peeters, 2006.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Rohleder, Jean Karl


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages




Jean Karl Rohleder

Date Deposited:

28 Apr 2020 11:13

Last Modified:

28 Apr 2020 11:13




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