Samoan

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Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Mon 16 May 2016, 22:36

As I mentioned in the lesson request thread, I'm teaching myself Samoan for fun, so I thought it would be cool to share what I'm learning here.
My main source is Marsack's 1962 Teach Yourself Samoan, however, I am modifying the terms he uses for a linguistically savvy audience, so it must be noted that a lot of what I say is my own interpratation, so I might describe things weirdly, especially with the stress system.

Lesson 1: Phonology and stress:
Samoan's phonology and orthography is as follows. Phonemes and graphemes in parenthesis indicate loan phonemes. Phonemes and graphemes in brackets indicate that the phone is most likely an allophone (see notes)

Consonants:
/p t~k (k) ʔ/ <p t (k) '>
/m n ŋ/ <m n g>
/f v s (h)/ <f v s (h)>
/l~ɾ/ <l/(r)>
[w j] <>

Notes:
In formal speech <t> is pronounced as /t/; however, in more colloquial registers it is pronounced as /k/.
Similarly, while /ŋ/ and /n/ are usually distinguished, in some colloquial registers they are both realized as the velar.
[w j] are allophones of the vowels /u i/ before other vowels.

Vowels:
/ɪ i: ʊ u:/ <i ī u ū>
/ɛ e: ɔ o:/ <e ē o ō>
/a a:/ <a ā>

Diphthongs:
/au ao ai ae ei ou/ <au ao ai ae ei ou>

Diphthongs must distinguished from vowel sequences separated with a glottal stop; for example, there is the minimum pair <lo'u> "my; mine (inalienable)" and <lou> "your; yours (inalienable)".

Stress:
Samoan is a mora-timed language. The stress is almost invariably on the penultimate mora. However, if the final mora is a long vowel, that mora takes the stress. The antepenultimate mora never takes stress.


Exercise 1:
Transcribe the following Samoan text into IPA, using the formal register. Mark stress.:
<Ua 'ou fa'anoanoa lava ona sa 'ou le'i feiloa'i ia te 'oe a'o o'u ui atu i Lepā i le Aso Tofi ai. Sa e alu i Pago i le tausaga talu ai?>

Answer:
Spoiler:
[wa 'ʔou faʔanɔa'nɔa 'lava 'ɔna 'ˈlɛʔɪ feilɔ'aʔɪ 'ja tɛ 'ʔoe 'aʔɔ 'ɔʔʊ 'wɪ 'atʊ ɪ lɛ'pa: ɪ lɛ 'asɔ 'tɔfɪ 'talʊ 'ai sa ɛ 'alʊ i 'paŋɔ ɪ lɛ tau'saŋa 'talʊ 'ai]
Last edited by Shemtov on Tue 17 May 2016, 02:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Samaon

Post by Creyeditor » Mon 16 May 2016, 23:02

Yeay, a non-SAE lang [:)]
Shemtov wrote: Stress:
Samoan is a mora-timed language. The stress is almost invariably on the penultimate mora. However, if the final mora is a long vowel, that mora takes the stress. The antepenultimate mora never takes stress.
If the final mora is on a long vowel, the penultimate mora is in the same mora, so I guess stress is still on the penultima, IIUC.
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Re: Samaon

Post by Shemtov » Mon 16 May 2016, 23:11

Creyeditor wrote:Yeay, a non-SAE lang [:)]
Shemtov wrote: Stress:
Samoan is a mora-timed language. The stress is almost invariably on the penultimate mora. However, if the final mora is a long vowel, that mora takes the stress. The antepenultimate mora never takes stress.
If the final mora is on a long vowel, the penultimate mora is in the same mora, so I guess stress is still on the penultima, IIUC.
Sorry, I forgot to make a point that even though Samoan is generally mora-timed, it's definition of a "mora" is bit...different from how we typically think of morae- long vowels (but not diphthongs) are treated as one mora (this seems normal for Polynesian languages, if my research is correct). Some may analyze it as showing that the language has both mora-timed and stress/sylable-timed elements (given that TF Mitchell proposes an Isochrony continuum), but I think my analysis is easier for a learner to understand, given verbal morphology (let's just say that Samoan would be a really good case study for a paper on Isochrony Theory, IMO). I did say things might get weird when I translate the stress patterns from my source- the author talks of syllables, and only implies morae being a factor, so I had to translate from talk of "syllables" into "morae" in my head, and this detail slipped through.
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Re: Samoan

Post by GrandPiano » Tue 17 May 2016, 01:00

Shouldn't <le'i> be [ˈlɛʔɪ], not [ˈleʔi]?

Also, I take it from the exercise that long vowels aren't very common in Samoan?

If diphthongs have two morae, where is the stress in "Savai'i" (which I'm guessing is the Samoan cognate of "Hawai'i")?
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Tue 17 May 2016, 02:31

GrandPiano wrote:Shouldn't <le'i> be [ˈlɛʔɪ], not [ˈleʔi]?

Yes

GrandPiano wrote:
Also, I take it from the exercise that long vowels aren't very common in Samoan?
They mainly show up in certain Verb conjugations, the plural of certain nouns, and some compound nouns.
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Re: Samaon

Post by Creyeditor » Tue 17 May 2016, 08:51

Shemtov wrote:
Creyeditor wrote:Yeay, a non-SAE lang [:)]
Shemtov wrote: Stress:
Samoan is a mora-timed language. The stress is almost invariably on the penultimate mora. However, if the final mora is a long vowel, that mora takes the stress. The antepenultimate mora never takes stress.
If the final mora is on a long vowel, the penultimate mora is in the same mora, so I guess stress is still on the penultima, IIUC.
Sorry, I forgot to make a point that even though Samoan is generally mora-timed, it's definition of a "mora" is bit...different from how we typically think of morae- long vowels (but not diphthongs) are treated as one mora (this seems normal for Polynesian languages, if my research is correct). Some may analyze it as showing that the language has both mora-timed and stress/sylable-timed elements (given that TF Mitchell proposes an Isochrony continuum), but I think my analysis is easier for a learner to understand, given verbal morphology (let's just say that Samoan would be a really good case study for a paper on Isochrony Theory, IMO). I did say things might get weird when I translate the stress patterns from my source- the author talks of syllables, and only implies morae being a factor, so I had to translate from talk of "syllables" into "morae" in my head, and this detail slipped through.
So, long vowels have one mora, diphthongs have one... What about closed syllables?
Also <Lepā> is 'μ.μμ' in traditional mora theory and 'μ.μ' in the Austronesian mora theory. In traditional theory there would be no exception for the penultimate stress rule and in the Austronesian theory there would be.
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Tue 17 May 2016, 09:28

Lesson 2:
Part 1: Nouns:
When nouns stand by themselves, they take the particle <'o> before them (this particle has other uses, but they will presented when relevant):
'O se fale
"A house"

The grammatical number of nouns is usually marked on the article, or by the lack of an article. However, there are some nouns that change for number, usually by reduplication of the penultima or lengthening of the antepenultima. When such nouns are introduced I will mark their plural in brackets, like so:
'O tamaloa [tamaloloa]: "man"

The definite article is <le>:
'O le fale
"The house"

When the noun is plural, the article is omitted:
'O fale
"the houses"

The indefinite article is <se>:
'O se fale
"A house"

When plural, the indefinite article is <ni>:
'O ni fale
"Houses"

However, <ni> can be omitted, and thus the above mentioned <'O fale> can mean "The houses" or "Houses" the exact meaning depending on the context.

The definite article is used in a broader sense then in English; it is used when the noun in question is known to the speaker, even if not to the listener.

Some nouns are formed from two words compounded together; one word is always a noun, the other can be any part of speech; however, I will only introduce Noun+Noun compounds in this lesson.
Examples
'O ofutino: "Shirt" ('O ofu: "clothing"; 'O tino: "body")
'O fuāmoa: "Egg" ('O fua: "fruit"; 'O moa: "chicken")

Part 2: Possesives:
Samoan distinguishes inalienable and alienable possesions. In addition to the normal implication of the word "inalienable", places of origin,boats, worn clothing, buildings, and parts of buildings are considered inalienable. Also 'O 'ava- "beard" is considered alienable.

Inalienable possesions are marked by placing the particle <o> between the possesion and posseser:
'O le paopao o le tama
"the boy's canoe"

'O le mata o Ioane
"John's eye"

Alienable possesions are marked by placing the particle <a> between the possesion and posseser:
'O le fua a Malia
"Mary's fruit"

'O naifi a tama"
"The boys' knives"

Vocabulary:
'O Fale: House
'O Fuāmoa: Egg
'O Fua: Fruit
'O Moa: Chicken
'O tamaloa [tamaloloa]: "Man"
'O va'a: "Boat"
'O Potu: "Room"
'O maile: "dog"
Ioane: "John"
Malia: "Mary"
'O naifi: "Knife"
'O tama: "Boy"
'O paopao: "Canoe"
Eti: "Ed"
'O nu'u: "Village"
'O ulu: "head"
Tavita: "David"
'O 'ava: "beard
'O nofoa: "Chair"
'O mata: "eye"
'O lima: "hand"

Exercises:
Translate the following words or phrases into Samoan
1. The canoe
2. Eyes
3. The chickens
4. David's boat
5. Ed's beard
6. Mary's hand
7.John's house
8. the men's chair
9. The boy's fruit
10: David's dog
11: A head
Answers:
Spoiler:
1. 'O le paopao
2. 'O ni mata
3. 'O moa
4. 'O le va'a o Tavita
5. 'O le 'ava a Eti
6. 'O le mata o Malia
7. 'O le fale o Ioane
8. 'O le nofoa a tamaloloa
9. 'O le fua a le tama
10: 'O le maile a Tavita
11: 'O se ulu
Last edited by Shemtov on Thu 19 May 2016, 00:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Tue 17 May 2016, 09:31

Creyeditor wrote:
Shemtov wrote:
Creyeditor wrote:Yeay, a non-SAE lang [:)]
Shemtov wrote:

So, long vowels have one mora, diphthongs have one... What about closed syllables?
Samoan is strictly (C)V.
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Wed 18 May 2016, 22:50

Lesson Three:
Part 1: Tense-Aspect of Verbs:
Verbs in Samoan take Tense-Aspect through the use of particles that come before the verb; they do inflect for the number of the subject, and for certain valency operations.
The particles:
1. Ua: This particle has three uses:
I: As a a marker of perfect aspect:
Ua sau Malia
"Mary has come"
II:With impersonal verbs, as a present tense:
Ua timu
"It is raining"
III:With attributive adjectives:
Ua leaga le fuāmoa
"The egg is rotten"

2: E/Te: This particle has a special form "te" when used after a pronoun. However, this should only be noted for now, as this lesson will not cover pronouns. It has two uses:
I: As a Simple present:
E sau Malia
"Mary comes"
II: as a an equivalent to the English "going-to" future:
Ou te alu
"I am going to go"

3: O lo'o: The progressive present:
O lo'o sau Malia
"Mary is coming"

4: Sa: The Past Perfect:
Sa sau Malia
"Mary had come"
NB:This particle has an alternate form "Na", but this is not very commonly used in the modern language.


5: O le ā: The definite future:
O le ā sau Malia
"Mary will come"

Part 2: Plural verbs:
Verbs conjugate for plural subjects. There are five conjugations. I will mark which conjugation a verb is in in the vocabulary by following it with the conjugation number in parenthesis, except for conjugation 5 verbs (see discussion of that conjugation for more details):
1: Reduplication.
In Monomoraic words the entire word is reduplicated and the second Mora is lengthened:
Ta "to hit". Plural: Tatā
In Bimoraic words The first mora is reduplicated:
'ai: "to eat" Plural: 'a'ai
In Trimoraic verbs, the penultima is reduplicated:
Galue "to work" Plural: Galulue

2: Lengthening of the first mora:
Va'ai "To see" Plural: Vā'ai

3: By adding the fe. Often the suffix (')i is added (labeled as conjugation 3b):
Inu "To drink" Plural: Feinu

4: By not changing from the singular

5. By suppletion. Verbs that form their plural this way will have their plural form marked in parenthesis:
Sau "to come" Plural: O mai

Vocabulary:
Manu: Bird; Animal
Ta'avale: Car
Sau (O mai): To come
Alu (O): to go
'ai (1): to eat
Galue (1): to work
Moe (1): to sleep
Maliu (1): to die
Va'ai (2): to see
Inu (3): to Drink
Lele (3b): To fly
Faitau (4): To read
Fesili (4): To ask
Timu: rain; to rain

Exercises:
Translate the following sentences into Samoan:
1. The men see
2. It's raining
3. A bird had flown
4.The dogs will drink
5. The man has asked
6. The men have asked
7.Ed works
8. The birds are flying
9. John had gone
10. The boy's dog comes
11. The boy's dogs come

Answers:
Spoiler:
1. E va'ai tamaloloa
2. Ua timu
3.Sa lele se manu
4.O le ā feinu maile
5. Ua fesili le tamaloa
6.Ua fesili le tamaloloa
7. E galue Eti
8. O lo'o felelei manu
9. Sa alu Ioane
10. E sau le maile a le tama
11. E o mai le maile a le tama
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Re: Samoan

Post by Creyeditor » Thu 19 May 2016, 00:14

Shemtov wrote:Part 2: Possesives:
Samoan distinguishes inalienable and alienable possesions. In addition to the normal implication of the word "inalienable", places of origin,boats, worn clothing, buildings, and parts of buildings are considered alienable. Also 'O 'ava- "beard" is considered alienable.

Inalienable possesions are marked by placing the particle <o> between the possesion and posseser:
'O le paopao o le tama
"the boy's canoe"

'O le mata o Ioane
"John's eye"

Alienable possesions are marked by placing the particle <a> between the possesion and posseser:
'O le fua a Malia
"Mary's fruit"

'O naifi a tama"
"The boys' knives"
Did you mean boats are inalienable? Because that would be really cool [:)]
Also yay for the first Indonesian cognates:
Samoan <-> Indonesian
fua fruit <-> buah fruit
mata eye <-> mata eye
lima hand <-> lima five
(inu to drink <-> minum to drink)
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Thu 19 May 2016, 00:25

Creyeditor wrote:
Did you mean boats are inalienable? Because that would be really cool [:)]
Yeah, that's sort of a cool thing about Polynesian languages: they take theoretical constructs like Alienable/Inalienable and Morae and give them the finger.
This actually reminds me of the fact that there's a Central Algonquian language (not sure if it's Cree or Ojibwe; could be both, actually) where "Tobacco" is considered animate because of Cultural import, and I wonder if that's what's going on with Samoan: Culturally important objects becoming Inalienable, and I wonder then if Alienability could be considered a noun class system that only effects possessive constructions?
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Re: Samoan

Post by DesEsseintes » Thu 19 May 2016, 04:16

Great thread. I will be following this. [:)]
Shemtov wrote:This actually reminds me of the fact that there's a Central Algonquian language (not sure if it's Cree or Ojibwe; could be both, actually) where "Tobacco" is considered animate because of Cultural import, and I wonder if that's what's going on with Samoan: Culturally important objects becoming Inalienable, and I wonder then if Alienability could be considered a noun class system that only effects possessive constructions?


Tobacco is animate in Ojibwe, Arapaho, and Cheyenne. I suspect it is in Blackfoot and Cree too, though I haven't been able to verify this.
Edit: I have now verified that tobacco is also animate in Cree. However, having reread the above post, I think it's worth pointing out that animacy assignment of semantically inanimate nouns is highly unpredictable in all Algonquian languages I'm acquainted with, and in many cases there seem to be no readily apparent determining factors for deciding which nouns are considered animate and inanimate. A good example would be different species of berries in Ojibwe, some of which are grammatically inanimate while others are animate.
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Re: Samoan

Post by Shemtov » Mon 23 May 2016, 03:48

Lesson Four:
Part 1: Personal Pronouns with Verbs:
The pronouns listed below are used only when they are subjects of a verb. A different form is used in copular constructions, which which will be the subject of a later lesson.
1P sing.: 'ou
1P dual incl.: Ta
1P dual excl.:Ma
1P plr. incl.: Tatou
1P plr. excl.:Matou
2P sing.: E
2P dual: Lua
2P plr: Tou
3p sing: Ia
3p dual: La
3p plr: Latou

Notes on usage:
Generally, these pronouns are used between the Tense-Aspect particle and the Verb:
Ua 'ou sau
"I have come"

The exception is with the Simple Present particle, which takes the special form "Te" and is placed after the pronoun:
'ou te sau
"I come"

Part 2: Possessive pronouns:
Possessive pronouns all begin with an <l> when the possessed noun is singular. When the noun is plural the <l> is dropped:
Lo'u paopao
"My canoe"
O'u paopao
"My canoes"
They have separate forms for alienable and inalienable possessions:
Inalienable possessive pronouns:
1P sing.: lo'u
1P dual incl.: Lo ta
1P dual excl.:Lo ma
1P plr. incl.: Lo tatou
1P plr. excl.:Lo matou
2P sing.: Lou
2P dual: Lo oulua
2P plr: Lo outou
3p sing: Lona
3p dual: Lo la
3p plr: Lo latou
Alienable possessive pronouns:
1P sing.: la'u
1P dual incl.: La ta
1P dual excl.:La ma
1P plr. incl.: La tatou
1P plr. excl.:La matou
2P sing.: Lau
2P dual: La oulua
2P plr: La outou
3p sing: Lana
3p dual: La la
3p plr: La latou


Exercises:
Translate the following sentences into Samoan:
1. You and I see
2. Your [dual] dog
3. He had worked
4.His canoe is coming
5. You all have come
6. My eye
7. Our [excl.] chair

Answers:
Spoiler:
1. Ta te vā'ai
2. La oulua maile
3. Sa ia galue
4. O lo'o sau lo la paopao
5. Tou te sau
6. Lo'u mata
7. La matou nofoa
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien
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