As per my post of last week, we’ll be starting a language of the week feature here. The first 26 will be in alphabetical order, for no good reason other than it constrains the search parameters a bit. As always, feel free to suggest your favourite language.
The language of the week is Anejom͂*, also known as Aneityum. It’s the southernmost language of Vanuatu and the only surviving language of the island of Aneityum. I first heard about this language when I was an undergrad at ANU, and it was joke that the senior professors got the languages in the best places, while the grad students got to go to places with awful food and lots of malaria: items of evidence included Professor Pawley, formerly working in Papua New Guines but these days working on Fiji (amongst other places), Professor Crowley (who’d been a student at ANU working on Bandjalang before getting tenure and moving to Vanuatu), and so on.
Language resources for Anejom͊ include:
- A basic vocabulary list
- An article on Anejom conditionals by John Lynch
- A dictionary, by John Lynch and Phillip Tepahae. It’s a trilingual Anejom – English – Bislama dictionary.
There’s a fascinating note in the basic vocabulary list I linked to. The word for the numeral ‘four’ is mijman. Apparently this is from the very widespread word for five, *lima. Now, if anyone can tell me the sound changes that produce mijman from lima, I’d love to hear about it! As for the change from ‘five’ to ‘four’, I don’t know of any parallels for this, but the Diyari for ‘three’ is cognate with words for ‘two.
*It’s not clear to me why the tilde on the m looks so funny. The m~ and p~ in the orthography are labio-velars.