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Revision as of 15:09, 4 March 2021 by Mfergus3 (talk | contribs) (Alienable Possession)

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Word Classes

  1. Nouns n
  2. Verbs v
  3. Pronouns prn
  4. Adverbs adv
  5. Prepositions pr
  6. Interjections ij
  7. Numerals num
  8. Conjunctions
  9. Topic markers
  10. Exclamations

Note the absence of adjectives in Biak

Grammar Points

Verb number/person inflection

Verbs combine with pronomial subject affixes (mainly prefixes, a few infixes) that express number and person of the subject. In addition to singular and plural, Biak also has a dual and a paucal. For 1st person dual and plural, Biak also distinguishes between inclusive and exclusive. There are at least three ways to combine verbs with pronomial affixes, and this is mainly determined by the beginning of the verb stem.


Example: «srow» (meet)

srow<v><p1><sg> ↔ yasrow

srow<v><p2><sg> ↔ wasrow

srow<v><p3><sg> ↔ isrow

srow<v><p1><du><ex> ↔ nusrow

srow<v><p1><du><inc> ↔ kusrow

srow<v><p2><du> ↔ musrow

srow<v><p3><du> ↔ susrow

srow<v><p3><pc> ↔ skosrow

srow<v><p1><pl><exc> ↔ nkosrow

srow<v><p1><pl><inc> ↔ kosrow

srow<v><p2><pl> ↔ mkosrow

srow<v><p3><pl><an> ↔ sisrow

srow<v><p3><pl><inan> ↔ nasrow

(Add V-initial, CV-initial examples and CV special cases)


Example: «arok» (be straight)

arok<v><p1><sg> ↔ yarok

arok<v><p2><sg> ↔ warok

arok<v><p3><sg> ↔ darok

arok<v><p1><du><ex> ↔ nuyarok

arok<v><p1><du><inc> ↔ kuyarok

arok<v><p2><du> ↔ muyarok

arok<v><p3><du> ↔ suyarok

arok<v><p3><pc> ↔ skarok

arok<v><p1><pl><exc> ↔ nkarok

arok<v><p1><pl><inc> ↔ karok

arok<v><p2><pl> ↔ mkarok

arok<v><p3><pl><an> ↔ sarok

arok<v><p3><pl><inan> ↔ narok


Note that the pattern for CV-initial verbs is not so predictable. For some words, the inflection is determined lexically; for instance, «so» (throw) is inflected according to the CV-pattern, while «so» (follow) is inflected according to the CC-pattern.

Example: «so» (throw)

so<v><p1><sg> ↔ yaso

so<v><p2><sg> ↔ swo

so<v><p3><sg> ↔ syo

so<v><p1><du><ex> ↔ nuso

so<v><p1><du><inc> ↔ kuso

so<v><p2><du> ↔ muso

so<v><p3><du> ↔ suso

so<v><p3><pc> ↔ skoso

so<v><p1><pl><exc> ↔ nkoso

so<v><p1><pl><inc> ↔ koso

so<v><p2><pl> ↔ mkoso

so<v><p3><pl><an> ↔ siso

so<v><p3><pl><inan> ↔ naso

Noun Specificity

Nonspecificity is used to refer to entities that do not yet exist in this world. It is marked by the use of nonspecific articles -o for singular and -no for plural.

yuk<n><nspc><sg> ↔ yuko

yuk<n><spc><pl> ↔ yukno

yuk<n><spc><sg> ↔ yukya

Possession (Alienable/Inalienable)

Biak makes a formal distinction between alienable and inalienable (mainly restricted to certain body parts, kinship terms, and locational nouns) possession.

Alienable Possession

The possessive pronominals consist of the possessive formative ve inflected for person, number, and gender of the possessor, and the article closing off related to the (person,) number, and gender of the possessed. This table illustrates the construction of possessive pronominals.

Basic Possessive Pronominals
Possessor↓ Possessum→ SG DU PC PL.AN PL.INAN
1SG (a)ye=d-i/=d-ya (a)ye=su-ya/-i (a)ye=sko-ya/-i (a)ye=s-ya/-i (a)ye=na
2SG be=d-i/=d-ya be-=su-ya/-i be=sko-ya/-i be=s-ya/-i be=na
3SG v<y>e=d-i/=d-ya v<y>e=su-ya/-i v<y>e =sko-ya/-i v<y>e =s-ya/-i v<y>e =na
1DU.INC Ku-ve=d-i/=d-ya ku-ve=su-ya/-i ku-ve=sko-ya/-i ku-ve=s-ya/-i ku-ve=na
1DU.EX nu-ve=d-i/=d-ya nu-ve=su-ya/-i nu-ve=sko-ya/-i nu-ve=s-ya/-i nu-ve=na
2DU mu-ve=d-i/=d-ya mu-ve=su-ya/-i mu-ve=sko-ya/-i mu-ve=s-ya/-i mu-ve=na
3DU su-ve=d-i/=d-ya su-ve=su-ya/-i su-ve=sko-ya/-i su-ve=s-ya/-i s su-ve=na
1PC sko-ve=d-i/=d-ya sko-ve=su-ya/-i sko-ve=sko-ya/-i sko-ve=s-ya/-i sko-ve=na
1PL.INC ko-ve=d-i/=d-ya ko-ve=su-ya/-i ko-ve=sko-ya/-i ko-ve=s-ya/-i ko-ve=na
1PL.EX (i)nko-ve=d-i/=d-ya (i)nko-ve=su-ya/-i i (i)nko-ve=sko-ya/-i (i)nko-ve=s-ya/-i (i)nko-ve=na
2PL mko-ve=d-i/=d-ya mko-ve=su-ya/-i mko-ve=sko-ya/-i mko-ve=s-ya/-i mko-ve=na
3PL.AN se=d-i/=d-ya se=su-ya/-i se=sko-ya/-i se=s-ya/-i se=na
3PL.INAN nbe=d-i/d-ya nbe=su-ya/-i nbe=sko-ya/-i nbe=s-ya/-i nbe=na


Partial Reduplicaton

Locative-existential clauses