USP Electronic Research Repository

Possessive Classifier Bila- in Raga reflects value in people

Vari-Bogiri, Hannah (2007) Possessive Classifier Bila- in Raga reflects value in people. In: Language Description, History and Development: Linguistic indulgence in memory of Terry Crowley. John Benjamins Publications CIE, Netherlands, pp. 1-8. ISBN 9789027252524 |

[img] Microsoft Word
Download (114kB)


The way people classify the same thing differently in different languages often has cultural explanations. This paper considers the semantic values of the possessive marking system in Raga, spoken on the northern part of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. In this system the possessive classifier bila- is used for referents of cultural and economic value, as is also the case with cognate forms in several closely related neighbouring languages in northern Vanuatu. It will be shown in this paper that the possessive classifier bila- in Raga extends beyond this to include atatu ‘people’ and vwavwa a kin term that covers the females in the father’s clan, particularly ‘father’s sister’, ‘father’s sister’s daughter’ and ‘father’s sister’s daughter’s daughter’, etc. Vwavwa is the only referential kin term in Raga that deviates from the normal direct possessive construction associated with kin terms in many Oceanic languages. This paper explores both the cultural reasons underpinning this deviation from the normal direct possessive construction to the use of the possessive classifier bila- as well as the circumstances underlying the usage of bila- to refer to ‘people’.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Repo Editor
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 04:38
Last Modified: 13 May 2015 04:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...