Lingarak language

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Native to Vanuatu
Region Central Malekula
Native speakers
1,300 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lgk
Glottolog ling1265[2]

Lingarak, also known as Neverver, is an Oceanic language. Neverver is spoken in Malampa Province, in central Malekula, Vanuatu. The names of the villages on Malekula Island where Never is spoken are Lingarakh and Limap.

Neverver is threatened. There are only 1,250 native speakers of Neverver. There are two dialects, Mindu and Wuli.[1]


Neverver has 19 consonants and 5 vowels in its sound system.[3]


Important features of the consonants in Neverver include prenasalisation and trills. Below is a table of the consonant inventory of Neverver:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-velar
Nasals m n ŋ
Plosives Plain
Fricatives Plain β s ɣ
Affricates Prenasalised nd͡ʒ
Trills Plain

Approximants l j w

Voiced obstruents, including the fricatives /β/ and /ɣ/, and the prenasalized trills /mbʙ/ and /ndr/ are devoiced in word-final position in rapid speech. Among younger speakers, the prenasalized plosives become simple nasals in word-final position.

The plosive /p/ becomes a voiceless trill [ʙ̥] before the vowel /u/.

(Barbour, 2012, p. 24-25)


Below is a table of the Neverver vowel inventory:

Front Back
High i (y) u
Mid e (ø) o
Low a

(Barbour, p. 44)

Pronoun and person markers

Neverver uses different pronominal and nominal forms. There are three main noun classes: Common, Personal, and Local nouns. There is also another fourth pronominal-noun category which blends features of the Neverver pronominal system with properties of the three major noun classes. There are three pronoun paradigms in Neverver: Independent personal pronouns, Possessive determiners, and Possessive pronouns. Like most Austronesian languages, in Neverver the Inclusive/Exclusive distinction only applies to the 1st person plural category. Personal nouns in Neverver include Personal proper names as well as Personal kin terms.

Pronoun Paradigms

Independent personal pronouns

Independent personal pronouns encode basic person and number contrasts. This includes the optionally articulated i-, which can indicate either a subject or object. Although this initial i- is optional with the pronouns, it is obligatory with the personal interrogative. For example, i-sikh means 'who'. Independent personal pronouns usually refer to animate entities, unless in some particular circumstances such as reflexive constructions. Below is a table showing the Independent pronoun paradigm:

Singular Non-singular
1st person (i-)na Inclusive



(i-)nam ~ (gu)mam

2nd person (i-)okh (i-)gam
3rd person ei adr

(Barbour, p. 72)


Furthermore, all subjects, both nominal and pronominal, are cross-referenced with a Subject/mood prefix which is attached to the verb stem in realis tense. These Subject/mood prefixes differ to Independent personal pronouns as there is a further Dual distinction in addition to the Singular and Plural distinction. Subject/mood prefixes are also obligatory in all verbal constructions, unlike Independent pronouns. Below is a table showing the Subject/mood paradigm:

Singular Dual Plural
1st person ni- Inclusive






2nd person ku- kar(i)- kat(i)-
3rd person i- ar(i)- at(i)-

(Barbour, p. 73)

The table shows that the 3rd person form is irregular.


In Neverver there are gendered pronominal nouns, with vinang expressing a female and mang expressing a male. These can be obligatory modified with a demonstrative or a relative clause. Gender can also be expressed using 3rd person singular pronouns. In Neverver, when there are two human participants involved of different genders, one is expressed with a gender-coded form and the other can be coded with an optional gender-neutral ei. The gender-coded form to express a female participant as the grammatical subject of the first clause, is encoded in the Subject/mood prefix i-. And if the male becomes the grammatical subject in the next clause, this is distinguished with the male pronominal-noun mang.

For example:

I-vlem, mang i-lav ei
3REAL:SG-come man:ANA 3REAL:SG-get 3SG
'She came and the man married her' [NVKS10.112]

(Barbour, p. 75)

In the above example there is a male and female participant involved. The subject/mood prefix i- encodes that the female is the subject of the first clause. When the subject shifts to the male, the pronominal-noun mang is used to show this shift. And then to show the female has become the object again, the 3rd person pronoun ei expresses this.

Possessive determiners

Prefixes derive Possessive determiners in Neverver. Most of these begin with the possessive prefix t-. In Neverver, Possessive determiners refer exclusively to human possessors, and a different construction is used to express non-human possessors. Below is a table showing the Possessive determiners paradigm:

Singular Non-singular
1st person (t-)na Inclusive



(t-)nam ~ (t-)mam

2nd person (t-)ox (t-)gam
3rd person titi~ei titi-dr ~ adr

(Barbour, p. 75)

3. Possessive pronouns

Prefixes also derive Possessive pronouns in Neverver. Possessive pronouns are made up of a Nominalising prefix at- and the Possessive prefix t-, which are both attached to the Base pronominal morpheme (the Independent pronoun). Furthermore, when the Nominalising prefix is attached, the Possessive pronoun can become the head of the noun phrase by itself. Below is a table showing the Possessive pronoun paradigm:

Singular Non-singular
1st person at-t-na Inclusive




2nd person at-t-okh at-t-gam
3rd person at-titi at-titi-dr

(Barbour, p. 76)

As the table shows, the 3rd person form uses the suppleted titi morpheme rather than the Independent personal pronoun form. For example, at-t-na means 'mine' and at-titi-dr means 'theirs'.

Personal nouns

In Neverver, Personal nouns are one of the three main noun classes, along with Common nouns, and Local nouns. These Personal nouns can include Personal proper names and Personal kin terms. Many of the women's Personal proper names are traditionally marked with the morphemes le- or li, however there is no morpheme associated with men's traditional Personal proper names. Never also has a small set of kin terms that can express family relations as well as other name avoidance strategies. (Barbour, p. 87-90)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Neverver at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lingarak". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Barbour, Julie (2012). A Grammar of Neverver. Germany: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 24–25, 44, 72–108. ISBN 9783110289619.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>