SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

You already know that the native tongues of Oceania, and let me remind you that there are over 1100 of them, belong to two big language families. Add to this the creoles spoken in Melanesia and Hawaii, and…well…you have a pretty sizeable brood. But have you ever tried to ascertain the exact degree of relatedness between those languages? Which of them are siblings or cousins, and which are just distant relatives? It’s time to find out. … More SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

THE DESCENDANTS

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And they are probably right. Anything with colours, lines, dots, or arrows just stays in our heads better. Now, I would love to explain to you the relationships between Pacific languages using a nicely created tree diagram, but – truthfully – I suck at this. So instead of drawing a graph here, I’ll tell you a story about two big linguistic families. … More THE DESCENDANTS

MARSHALLESE 4.0: GRAMMAR, BABY!

Iọkwe! [Hello!]

Ej et aṃ mour? [How are you?] Elukkuun eṃṃan [I’m doing great.] As you can see, I really mastered all the basic phrases. The truth is, I’ve been repeating them day after day for the past couple of months, so I guess it’s not that big of an achievement. But even if it’s not, it means something – I have completed the first level, and I’m ready to take the next step, which is…grammar, baby! … More MARSHALLESE 4.0: GRAMMAR, BABY!

WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR FOREIGNERS)

You are not a Pacific Islander nor a person of Pacific descent. You are a foreigner (palagi, haole, ribelle, I-matang, kai valagi, etc.), who I presume likes studying languages and is interested in the beautiful islands of Oceania. I’m just taking a wild guess here, but – please tell me – am I even remotely close? I think I am – you are visiting this site, after all. … More WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR FOREIGNERS)

WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS)

So you are a Pacific Islander or a person of Pacific descent. You speak English or French. Or both. Or maybe even Spanish, German, or Japanese. But you don’t really speak the language of your ancestors. You know a few words, you can form a sentence or two, but you are not fluent. Does this description sound familiar to you? Are you this person? If the answer is “yes”, read on. … More WHY LEARN PACIFIC LANGUAGES? (FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS)

MARSHALLESE 3.0: MAY THE RAINBOW BE WITH YOU

Iọkwe! [Hello!]

Ilukkuun ṃōṇōṇō [I am very happy] that I’m (slowly) making (some) progress in Marshallese. Imeḷeḷe [I understand] more and more, which is something I’m extremely excited about. Obviously, I still can’t construct whole sentences, but I’m trying to use the vocabulary I already know whenever I can. And that is why today I will share with you some of the most beautiful and interesting Marshallese words I’ve come across so far. … More MARSHALLESE 3.0: MAY THE RAINBOW BE WITH YOU

MARSHALLESE 2.0: THE ART OF PRONUNCIATION

Iọkwe aolep! [Hello everyone!]

Eta in… [My name is…] (ok, that’s not really an important piece of information, so let’s just omit this part). Jilñoul juon aō iiō [I’m 31 years old.]. When it comes to introducing myself, that’s basically all I can say (or write, to be more precise) in Marshallese at this point. Two sentences. Not a lot; I’m well aware of that. But still, I’m proud as hell of myself! … More MARSHALLESE 2.0: THE ART OF PRONUNCIATION