Cynthia Schneider. 2010. A grammar of Abma: A language of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics 608, xxi + 271 pp. ISBN 978-085-88-3607-5. $Aust. 99.00 (Australia), $Aust. 90.00 (elsewhere), paper. Cynthia Schneider's grammar is the first comprehensive description of Abma, an Oceanic language of Vanuatu, spoken by about 7,800 people on Pentecost Island. While the author is right to announce that "there is scope for more investigation in every major area" (15), she succeeds in her primary goal of introducing all major structural aspects of the language; a good number of examples from her own research lend substance and clarity to her generalizations. The first chapter explores the language in relation to neighboring and closely related languages. The dialectal variety within the language is explored in some detail and gives interesting insights into changes in the sound system, including a shift from lower to higher front vowels. This chapter also contains a commendably thorough account of what little previous work had been done on the language. The chapter on phonology identifies Abma as one of several languages of Vanuatu with a relatively large vowel inventory, mostly due to the phonemic difference between long and short vowels (cf. François
Oceanic Linguistics – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 29, 2012
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