Buru language

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Buru
li fuk Buru
Native toIndonesia
RegionBuru Island (Maluku)
Native speakers
(33,000 cited 1989)[1]
Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3mhs
Glottologburu1303[2]

Buru or Buruese (Buru: li fuk Buru[3]) is a Malayo-Polynesian languages of the Central Maluku branch. In 1991 it was spoken by approximately 45,000 Buru people who live on the Indonesian island of Buru (Indonesian: Pulau Buru).[4] It is also preserved in the Buru communities on Ambon and some other Maluku Islands, as well as in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and in the Netherlands.[5]

The most detailed study of Buru language was conducted in the 1980s by Australian missionaries and ethnographers Charles E. Grimes and Barbara Dix Grimes.[6][7][8]

Dialects[edit]

Three dialects of Buru can be distinguished, each of which is used by its corresponding ethnic group on Buru island: Rana (named after the lake in the center of Buru; more than 14,000 speakers), Masarete (more than 9,500 speakers) and Wae Sama (more than 6,500 speakers). Some 3,000–5,000 of Rana people along with their main dialect use the so-called "secret dialect" Ligahan. The dialect of Fogi which once existed in the western area of the island is now extinct.[9] Lexical differences between the dialects are about 90% between Masarete and Wae Sama, 88% between Masarete and Rana and 80% between Wae Sama and Rana. Aside from native vernaculars, most Buru people, especially in the coastal regions and towns, have at least some command and understanding of the official language of the country, Indonesian. The coastal population also uses Ambonese Malay.[5][10]

Naming and taboo[edit]

Buru people use traditional names, along with Muslim or Christian names, the most common being Lesnussa, Latbual, Nurlatu, Lehalima, Wael and Sigmarlatu. The language has several sets of taboo words, which are both behavioral and linguistic. For example, relatives refer to each other by kin names, but not by proper names (i.e., father, but not Lesnussa). However, contrary to many other Austronesian cultures, Buru people do refer to the deceased relatives by name. Other restrictions apply to the objects of nature, harvest, hunting and fishing, for which certain words should be chosen depending on the island area. These taboos have explanations in associated myths of legends. In all cases, the words for taboo items are not omitted, but substituted by alternatives.[9] All Buru dialects have loanwords. Many of them originated from Dutch and Portuguese during the Dutch colonization and referred to the objects not previously seen on the island. Other types of borrowed words came from Malayan languages as a result of inflow of people from the nearby island.[9]

Phonology[edit]

The Buru language has 5 vowels and 17 consonants.[4] They are illustrated on the tables below:

Consonants
Labial Apical Laminal Dorsal
Stop p  b t̪  d tʃ  (dʒ) k  g
Fricative f s h
Nasal m n ŋ
Lateral l
Trill r
Semivowel w j
Vowels
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Writing system[edit]

Contrary to other indigenous languages of Buru and the nearby island of Ambelau (Lisela, Kayeli and Ambelau), Buru has a functional writing system based on the Latin alphabet. Buru Christians worship with a Bible written in their native language, the first translations of which were made back in 1904 by Dutch missionaries.[5]

Grammar[edit]

The Buru language can be classified as an SVO language, prepositional, with modifiers following the head noun in a noun phrase, and the genitive occurring before the noun.

Negation[edit]

In Buru, a speaker's perspective or evaluation of one or several utterances often appears at the end. Even whole stories may be concluded with a sentence or two expressing the speaker's attitude to what was just said, where or who they heard it from, or similar judgements. This is reflected at both the sentence and even clause level by means of auxiliaries, parts of the TAM (Tense-aspect-mood) system, tags, and other such modifiers. Grimes classifies these items as "external to the clause proper".[4]:232 This comes to include speaker evaluation of the truth value of what is said, marked by moo, the main negative adverbial in Buru.

All page references refer to Grimes (1991).[4]

(1)

[Sira

3.PL.A

hapu

tie

lafa-t

food-NOM

la

for

yako

1.SG

langina]

earlier

moo.

NEG

[Sira hapu lafa-t la yako langina] moo.

3.PL.A tie food-NOM for 1.SG earlier NEG

'They didn't tie up trailfood for me earlier.':(166), §12.4

Such clause-final negation is atypical of Austronesian languages, in which the negative almost exclusively appears before the verb or predicate. This feature appears to have crossed the linguistic boundary between neighbouring Papuan languages and Buru, as well as other languages of the Moluccas. This is substantiated by the fact that "historical records indicate long-term and extensive interactions between Austronesians and Non-Austronesians in Halmahera and the Moluccas”.[11]:375 Consequently, Klamer concludes that it is “reasonable to analyze … final negation in … Buru … as having a [non-Austronesian (i.e. Papuan)] origin for which there is substantial historical and linguistic evidence”.[11]:376

By combining with moo, other negative adverbials have been derived throughout the language's history, giving rise to mohede ("not yet") and tehuk moo ("no longer").[4]:§12.4 Mohede is a frozen compound of the words moo and hede, where hede is an adverbial with a continuative aspect[4]:§12.4.5 (translated as "still", i.e. mohede = "still not", c.f. German "noch nicht" or Italian "ancora no(n)"). Unlike other negative adverbials and auxiliaries, the segment tehuk may appear in both the "nucleus" (directly following the verb) or clause-final, as well as (rather uniquely) in both positions at once.[4]:§12.4.6

(2)

Da

3.SG

kaa

eat

mohede.

not yet

Da kaa mohede.

3.SG eat {not yet}

'He hasn't eaten yet.':(185), §12.4.5

(3)

Da

3.SG

kaa

eat

gehu-t

taro-NOM

tehuk

longer

moo

NEG

Da kaa gehu-t tehuk moo

3.SG eat taro-NOM longer NEG

'She doesn't eat taro anymore.':(188), §12.4.6

(4)

Da

3.SG

kaa

eat

tehuk

longer

gehu-t

taro-NOM

tehuk

longer

moo.

NEG

Da kaa tehuk gehu-t tehuk moo.

3.SG eat longer taro-NOM longer NEG

'She doesn't eat taro anymore.':(189), §12.4.6

The deictic element sa can be combined with moo (or any of the other aforementioned negative elements) to mean "nothing, no(ne), nobody”. Sa is related to the quantifier sia (“some”), and, as such, constructions involving sa … moo may be glossed as “not one”. Where exactly a speaker places this element sa indicates the intended scope of the negation, whilst the negative, as is mandatory for Buru, remains clause final. The negative polarity items “anyone” and “anything” are represented consistently in Buru as ii sa ("one thing") and geba sa ("one person") respectively. [4]:§15.2

(5)

Lea

sun

tau-n

full-GEN

dii,

DIST

da

3.SG

dufa

get

sa

one

moo,

NEG,

da

3.SG

oli

return

hama

search

saa.

one

Lea tau-n dii, da dufa sa moo, da oli hama saa.

sun full-GEN DIST 3.SG get one NEG, 3.SG return search one

'All that day, if he gets nothing, he goes home hunting for something.':(66), §15.2

(6)

Geba

person

sa

one

kaa

eat

ii

thing

sa

one

mohede.

not yet

Geba sa kaa ii sa mohede.

person one eat thing one {not yet}

'Nobody has eaten anything yet.':(71), §15.2

(7)

Geba

person

sa

one

kaa

eat

ii

thing

sa

one

tehuk

longer

moo.

NEG

Geba sa kaa ii sa tehuk moo.

person one eat thing one longer NEG

'Nobody is eating anything anymore.':(73), §15.2

Moo may also be employed to add stronger emphasis to prohibitive clauses that are introduced by the prohibitive marker bara ("don't").[4]:§22.2.2

(8)

Bara

don't

iko

go

ego

get

pala

rice

moo!

NEG

Bara iko ego pala moo!

don't go get rice NEG

'Do not, by any means, go get rice!':(55), §22.2.2

In the event that moo directly follows a verb, the cliticised object marker -h, if present, will attach to it to form of mohe.[4]:§12.4.25.1

(9)

Ya

1.SG

te

CAP

puna

do

mo.he.

NEG.it

Ya te puna mo.he.

1.SG CAP do NEG.it

'I don't know how to make it.'
'I can't do it.':(241), §12.4.25.1

Pronouns and Person Markers[edit]

Free pronouns may be used equally for the subject and object of intransitive verbs (marking either actor or undergoer).[4]

Free Pronouns
Person Number
Singular Plural Dual
1INC kita
1EXCL yako kami
2 kae kimi
3 rine/ringe sira sino


Examples:

(1) Yako paha ringe
1SG hit 3SG
"I hit him."


(2) Ringe paha yako
1SG hit 1SG
"He hit me."


(3) Yako iko
1SG go
"I go."


(4) Sira oli
3PL return
"They come back."


(5) Yako glada
1SG hunger
"I am hungry."


(6) Ringe mata
3SG die
"He died."
Pronominal Proclitics
Person Number
Singular Plural
1INC kam
1EXCL yak/ya kit
2 ku kim
3 da du


Examples:

(7) Ya paha ringe
1SG hit 3SG
"I hit him."


(8) da paha yako
3SG hit 1SG
"He hit me."


(9) ya iko
1SG go
"I go."


(10) Du oli
3PL return
"They come back."


(11) Ya glada
1SG hunger
"I am hungry."


(12) Da mata
3SG die
"He died."

Possession[edit]

Depending on its distribution a possessive word can behave verbally or nominally, or as the head of a predicative possessive construction or as the modifier of the possessive NP. The possessive word is the only word in the Buru language obligatorily inflected for person and number and behaves much like a verb in its affixing possibilities. All examples in this section have been taken from Grimes, 1991 chapter 14.[4]
The basic structure of the constituent is SVO.

(1) Yako nango huma saa.
1SG 1SGPOSS house one
"I have/own a house." (p. 279)


Functional and distributional behaviour of the possessive construction:
Applicative /-k/ is used to indicate a definite pronominal object (an object that functions as a pronoun).

(2) Todo naa, ya nangu-k.
machete PROX 1SG 1SGPOSS-k
"This machete, it is mine." (p. 280)


(3) San nake-k?
who 3SGPOSS-k
"Whose is it?." (p. 280)


The possessive word can also accept valence changing verbal prefixes however this is restricted to the third singular form 'nake'.

(4) Petu kami rua hai em-nake-k eta dena na Rana.
SEQ 1PLE two follow STAT-3SGPOSS-k until arrive PROX lake
"So the two of us followed as his companion-assistants until arriving here at Rana." (p. 280)


(5) Geba-ro kadu-k pa du wana em-nake-k eta lea.
person-PL come-k REAL 3PL awake STAT-3SGPOSS-k until sun
"People came and they stayed away at his disposal keeping him company until dawn." (p. 280)


People can be put at someone’s disposal through the combination of /ep-em-/.

(6) Kawasan p-em-nake-k geba rua ute ringe eta dena la masi.
head CAUS-STAT-3SGPOSS-k person two DAT 3SG until arrive downstream sea
"The village head put two people at his disposal until they should reach the coast." (p. 280/1)


The possessive word, with or without a proceeding cliticised free pronoun, functions as a possessive pronoun with a NP.

(7) Da kala-k ya nang ama.
3SG call-k [1SG 1SGPOSS father]NP
"He summoned my father." (p. 281)


(8) Da lata-h tu ya nang todo.
3SG cut-it [with 1SG 1SGPOSS machete]
"He cut it with my machete." (p. 281)


Used with verbs of exchange, the possessive word can have the force of a dative argument.

(9) Ego nang pawe saa.
Get 1SGPOSS mango one
"Get me a mango/get a mango for me." (p. 281)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buru at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Buru (Indonesia)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Grimes, Barbara Dix (2006). "Knowing Your Place: Representing relations of precedence and origin on the Buru landscape". In James J. Fox (ed.). The Poetic Power of Place: Comparative Perspectives on Austronesian Ideas of Locality. ANU Press. ISBN 9781920942861.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Grimes, Charles E. (1991). The Buru Language of Eastern Indonesia. Australian National University.
  5. ^ a b c Ethnologue: Languages of the World. "Buru: A language of Indonesia (Maluku)".
  6. ^ "Publications by Barbara Dix Grimes". SIL International.
  7. ^ "Publications by Charles E. Grimes". SIL International.
  8. ^ "Chuck & Barbara Grimes, Wycliffe Bible Translators". Bethel Grove Bible Church. Archived from the original on 2010-10-19.
  9. ^ a b c Dutton, T.E. & Tryon, D.T. (1994). Language Contact and Change in the Austronesian World. De Gruyter.
  10. ^ "Buru people" (in Russian). Encyclopedia of people and religions of the world. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  11. ^ a b Klamer, Marian (2002). "Typical Features of Austronesian Languages in Central/Eastern Indonesia". Oceanic Linguistics. 41 (2): 363. doi:10.2307/3623314.

Further reading[edit]

  • Grimes, Barbara Dix (1994). "Halmahera and beyond". In Visser, L.E. (ed.). Buru inside out. Leiden.