A grammar of Rapa Nui


A grammar of Rapa Nui



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Paulus Kieviet - Author


This book is a comprehensive description of the grammar of Rapa Nui/ the Polynesian language spoken on Easter Island. After an introductory chapter/ the grammar deals with phonology/ word classes/ the noun phrase/ possession/ the verb phrase/ verbal and nonverbal clauses/ mood and negation/ and clause combinations. The phonology of Rapa Nui reveals certain issues of typological interest/ such as the existence of strict conditions on the phonological shape of words/ word-final devoicing/ and reduplication patterns motivated by metrical constraints. For Polynesian languages/ the distinction between nouns and verbs in the lexicon has often been denied; in this grammar it is argued that this distinction is needed for Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui has sometimes been characterised as an ergative language; this grammar shows that it is unambiguously accusative. Subject and object marking depend on an interplay of syntactic/ semantic and pragmatic factors. Other distinctive features of the language include the existence of a ‘neutral’ aspect marker/ a serial verb construction/ the emergence of copula verbs/ a possessive-relative construction/ and a tendency to maximise the use of the nominal domain. Rapa Nui’s relationship to the other Polynesian languages is a recurring theme in this grammar; the relationship to Tahitian (which has profoundly influenced Rapa Nui) especially deserves attention. The grammar is supplemented with a number of interlinear texts/ two maps and a subject index.

Subject 1

Humanities - Languages




Language Science Press


Open Textbook Library



A grammar of Rapa Nui