Vitu grammar sketch by René van den Berg, Peter Bachet

By René van den Berg, Peter Bachet

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Na palaka-na ‘at its place’ na palige-na ‘at the other side’ na polok-a ‘in, inside him/her/it’ na taur-a ‘underneath him/her/it’ na hate-gu na hirip-igu na hudu-gu ‘in front of me’ ‘beside me’ ‘on top of me’ na kikit-igu ‘beside me’ na lama-gu na mudi-gu na polok-ogu na taur-ugu ‘behind me’ ‘at my place’ ‘in me’ ‘under me’ When used in an absolute sense, some locative nouns are in fact treated as proper nouns and hence take the general preposition ni: ni muga ni muri ‘at the front; in front’ ‘at the back’ na muga-gu - ‘in front of me’ 5.

Lit. ‘A. ’) The article a seems to be obligatorily absent in the following cases: a. Following the vowel a, as in the second instance of (10) above, where the preceding ia constitutes a phonological block to the article. In this case the use of na is fine. b. With vocatives: John, mai! ’ 35 c. 2): ni Peter ‘to Peter’; kamani Galiki ‘with Galiki’; tama-ni John ‘John’s father’. d. 8): ruma ke John ‘John’s house’. 2 The common article na As with the proper article, the meaning and distribution of the article na with common nouns is not easy to pin down.

8 for details): ruma ka-na kaua ‘a dog’s house’, but not *ruma ka-na na kaua. The most frequent contexts where na occurs (although not obligatorily) are a) in titles of stories; b) with subjects of equative or existential clauses, and c) as objects. One possible hypothesis is that na is used with referential and highly topical noun phrases in a limited number of contexts. Extensive research on a large body of texts is needed to prove this hypothesis. Examples of na, all taken from texts, follow below: (11) Na tavine katiu.

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