Documentation and Description of Loxodumau
|Depositor:||Lidia Federica Mazzitelli|
|Location:||Papua New Guinea|
The speakers represented in the deposit are all dwellers of the Lakurumau village, situated on the East Coast of New Ireland, the second-largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea).
Most villagers live of subsistence farming and fishing; the production and commerce of copra is the most important source of income for Lakurumau people. Some are also employed at the nearby oil palm plantation, either with clerical jobs or as workers in the field; others have jobs as bus drivers, mechanics and teachers at the local school.
The literacy rate in Lakurumau is very high, bordering 100%. Most villagers have completed at least five years of primary school; some have also gone to high school (in other villages in the province of New Ireland) and to University or vocational colleges (mostly outside New Ireland).Lakurumau people are predominantly Christian, with several churches and denominations represented in the village. Older cultural practices are still well alive - as the tradition of performing malangan, funerary cerimonies held some time after the death of a community member.
The social structure of Lakurumau people is based on clan membership and it has a complex system of taboo regulations, aimed at preventing incest (understood as marriage between members of the same clan). However, nowadays, in the younger generations, the clan-based system is being slowly replaced by a more Western-like family-based system, and many taboo-linked practices are fading away.
The community is characterised by a high level of multilingualism. Traditionally, Loxodumau speakers were also fluent in the neighbouring languages Nalik and Kara, which they used in the relationship with their neighbours. The latter would usually not learn Loxodumau, as they deem it to be a "very difficult" and "unintellegible" language. Nowadays, even if knowledge of Nalik and Kara is still diffused in Loxodumau, communication with Nalik and Kara speakers takes place more and more often in Tok Pisin. Some Loxodumau speakers are also fluent in Papua New Guinea English. Children have a limited competence in Loxodumau: very often, they are fluent only in Tok Pisin, and have a good passive knowledge but scarce active knowledge of Loxodumau. Intermarriages with members of other language groups are very frequent; if the family resides in Lakurumau the children usually learn both parents' languages, in addition to Tok Pisin.
Loxodumau (Austronesian, Western-Oceanic, Meso-Melanesian) is spoken by approximately 800 people in only one village, Lakurumau, in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. So far, Loxodumau has only been briefly mentioned in descriptions of the New Ireland languages an defined as a "transitional dialect" or a "transitional language" between the neighbouring Nalik (ISO: nal) and Kara (ISO: leu). Actually, Loxodumau would be better defined as a member of the language chain of Northern New Ireland, comprising of six different languages (Lavongai/Tungak, Tigak, Tiang, Kara, Loxodumau and Nalik).
Loxodumau has so far been cited under the name "Lakurumau" or "Lakuramau"; however, the community has decided that they prefer their language to be called, documented and described under its native name of Loxodumau (Lakurumau being its colonial adaptation). It does not have a ISO-code yet; however, it has a separate entry on Glottolog (under the name Lakuramau, code: laku1238; http://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/laku1238).
Typologically, Loxodumau displays many typical features of Western Oceanic languages: a predominantly SVO word order; a nominative-accusative alignment; little bound morphology and no case-marking; a tense system based on a future vs non-future distinction; several aspect markers; no gender distinctions; number distinction in pronouns (singular, dual, trial, plural) and sporadically in noun phrases; serial verb constructions; prepositions; alienable (prepositional) vs. inalienable (bound) adnominal possession.
Due to the pressure of Tok Pisin, the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea, Loxodumau is less and less spoken by younger generations; it is endangered and faces a serious threat of extinction in the next decades.
Deposit contents The deposit comprises of a collection of audio-visual records of different genres (personal narratives, traditional stories, procedural texts, dialogues) and grammatical materials (field notes, word lists, grammar sketch, grammatical elicitations).
Other information None of the data in this collection may be used as evidence in court.
Acknowledgement and citation
Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Lidia Federica Mazzitelli as the principal investigator, the data collector and the researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by respective name(s). Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.
To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite as follows:
Mazzitelli, Lidia Federica. 2017. Documentation and description of Loxodumau. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: https://elar.soas.ac.uk/Collection/MPI1093372. Accessed on [insert date here].