Vocabulary Takia

by Malcolm Ross  

The vocabulary contains 1327 meaning-word pairs ("entries") corresponding to core LWT meanings from the recipient language Takia. The corresponding text chapter was published in the book Loanwords in the World's Languages. The language page Takia contains a list of all loanwords arranged by donor languoid.

Word form LWT code Meaning Core list Borrowed status Source words

Field descriptions


The orthography used for pre-modern lexical items here and in the database is a phonemic spelling . This differs in two respects from the practical orthography adopted by the Summer Institute of Linguistics in consultation with Takia speakers and used by Ross (2002). Vowels other than -a- which occur in syllables before the stress are inserted by rule: either -i- or -u-. Inserted vowels are often written in the practical orthography, but this results in alternative orthographic representations of the same word (with inserted i or inserted u or neither). For consistency’s sake inserted vowels are not written here. Second, there are several differences involving w and y. The main one concerns the phonological interpretation of wordswith falling phonetic vowel sequences such as the following, where [tigi′yo] ‘we called you’ and [tusu′we] ‘we poked (it)’ are represented phonemically as t-gy-ó and t-swé respectively.That is, the intervocalic glides [y] and [w] are considered to represent phonemes, whilst thefirst vowel of the sequence is interpreted as an insertion. This allows for simpler generalisations about the insertion of pre-stress vowels than in previous work, where these words wereinterpreted as t(i)-gi-o and t(u)-sue respectively.
Morphosyntactic facts that need to be known in order to interpret the wordlist data, and especially the morpheme-by-morpheme glosses, are:
• Verbs always have a prefix coreferential with the subject, e.g.ŋ-aw ‘Igo’, y-aw ‘he/she/it goes’ etc. Their citation forms are shown with an initial hyphen, e.g. -aw ‘go’.
• Nouns may be either alienably or inalienably possessed. Inalienably possessed nouns have a suffix coreferential with the possessum,e.g. bani-g ‘my hand’, bani-n ‘his/her/its hand’. Their citation formsare shown with a final hyphen, e.g. bani-‘ hand’.
• The possessor suffix and subject prefix are omitted in a phrasal citation form and in its a morpheme-by-morpheme gloss if the affixes vary in person and number. Thus the citation form for ‘to love’ is bbe- -pani (heart--give) ‘give (one’s) heart’, with the variants bbe-n i-pani (heart-his 3SG-give) ‘s/he loves’, bbe-g ŋ-pani (heart-my 1SG give) ‘I love’, and so on.
• Many adjectives also take a possessor suffix. Again, the citation form is shown with a final hyphen, e.g. sae- ‘bad’. An adjective of this type always takes the 3SG suffix -n when it is used predicatively. An attributive adjective follows the noun it modifies, and in the past took a possessor suffix agreeing in number and person with that noun. Increasingly in modern Takia the suffix is -n regardless of agreement.


Determinations here are straightforward except for items that include enclitics. Although
enclitics are phonologically bound (to some degree: they do not participate in stress assignment),
they are syntactically independent. Items that include them are therefore labelled ‘Analyzable


Just one abbreviation is used that is not included in the Leipzig Glossing Rules, namely INAL, glossing the suffix -a- which is added when an otherwise alienable noun is possessed inalienable. The possessor suffix(see annotation to Word form field is added after this suffix. For example, tatu ‘bone’ is normally alienable, but is inalienable in pao-n tatuw-a-n [shoulder-3SG bone-INAL-3SG] ‘collarbone’, literally ‘shoulder’s bone’.


The periodizations and dates require some explanation. Proto Oceanic, the language of the Lapita culture at the time that it expanded eastward around 1200 BC, came into being as the result of contact between the Austronesian speakers who arrived in the Bismarck Archipelago around 1400 BC and speakers of Papuan languages whose ancestors had long been in New Guinea and the Bismarcks. I have labelled this period Early Oceanic. Proto Oceanic was originally posited by Dempwolff (1937) and has since been firmly reconstructed (Lynch et al. 2002:Ch.4).
Pre-Oceanic means‘ Austronesian speaking before 1400 BC’. The early limit of 3500 BC is the earliest data for a culture associated with Austronesian, but it is not really meaningful to set a start date in this way.
The end dates of the Pre-Oceanic, Early Oceanic, Western Oceanic, New Guinea Oceanic, North New Guinea, Ngero-Vitiaz and Bel periods are associated with the reconstructed interstages which we label ‘Proto Western Oceanic’, ‘Proto New Guinea Oceanic’, and so on. Note that these proto languages represent cross-sections of ongoing language change, rather than periods of time. The fact that a lexical item in the Takia database is said to be descended from are constructed etymon in, say, Proto Ngero-Vitiaz says only that an ancestral form was present in Proto Ngero-Vitiaz. It entered the language at the latest during the Ngero-Vitiaz period, and may have entered it earlier, but there is currently no data to support an earlier reconstruction. The protolanguages from Western Oceanic through to Bel are justified by
Ross (1988). There are also reconstructions in the database for Proto Western Bel. Western Bel is the subgroup which includes Takia, Megiar (a dialect of Takia), Bilibil and the various dialects of Gedaged (Gedaged proper, Riwo and Siar). I assign Proto Western Bel to the Early Takia period, as explained below.
Except for the end date for Bel, the dates for the prehistoric periods listed in the previous paragraph are based on the correlation of reconstructed linguistic events with known archaeological events. There is room for error, both in the correlation and in the archaeology. The dates associated with Pre-Oceanic and Early Oceanic are well accepted in the historical linguistic and archaeological literature are quite well founded (Spriggs 1997, Kirch 1997,1998). Western Oceanic was the network of dialects left behind on New Britain and New Ireland after the initial wave of eastward migration. Ross (1988:382–386) proposed that there were two waves of Oceanic settlement eastward into the northwest Solomons area and that the second was associated with the break-up of Western Oceanic, dated to around 900 BC on the basis that there was late Lapita settlement on Buka Island by 800 BC and on New Georgiaby 600 BC (Sheppard and Walter 2006).
The break-up of New Guinea Oceanic, spoken (I assume) in western New Britain, must have occurred around 200 BC, as the archaeology of the south coast of Central Papua suggests that Oceanic speakers had reached there by 100 BC (Vanderwal 1973). The continuing network of dialects on New Britain represents the North New Guinea period, until the Vitiaz Strait area was resettled by Oceanic speakers sometime between 300 and 500 AD following a post-Lapita hiatus in settlement. This represents the beginning of the archaeological Sio pottery period (Lilley 1999, 2000, In press). The Ngero-Vitiaz end date of 1000 AD represents the appearance of new pottery types (Lilley 1999, Specht et al. 2006, Lilley and Specht In press, westward expansion along the coast and offshore islands, and the probable begin¬nings of the Vitiaz Strait trade network, which persisted until after European contact in the twentieth century (Harding 1967).
According to oral tradition, the ancestors of all speakers of Bel languages (Takia is a member of the Bel family) lived on Yomba Island, where Hankow Reef is located, until it disappeared under the waves (Mennis 2006). I estimate that this occurred around 1600, and that the ancestors of the Takia settled on Karkar around 1680 after a tsunami had wiped out the earlier population (for the oral history, see McSwain 1977:24, for dating Ross 2007b). The Early Takia period is the last prehistoric period before the arrival of German missionaries. It is also the period in which I infer that loans from Bargam and Waskia occurred. A number of items are reconstructable for Proto Western Bel on the basis of the cognates given in Mager’s (1952) Gedaged dictionary. I have not assigned these to a separate ‘period’ of Takia history. They belong to a time when the Western Bel languages, listed earlier, were still more or less a unity. I assume this to have been for a relatively short period of time before and after theTakia settled in Karkar Island, and I have assigned such items to ‘Early Takia’.
The history of Takia since European contact is known to us, at least in outline. German Lutheran missionaries were active on Karkar from 1888 to 1895, but made little impact. I have allowed the Early Takia period to extend into the historical period up to 1912, as there is no evidence of borrowing before 1912. A second group arrived in 1912 and were more successful, but were forced out by Germany’s wartime defeat in 1918 (Wagner and Hermann 1986:109–110, 127–129). I have labelled this early period of six years the Early missionary period. I have left a gap in periodization between 1918 and 1935 since I know of no conditions likely to lead to borrowing during that period.
After the transfer of New Guinea (the northern half of modern mainland Papua NewGuinea) to Australian sovereignty, German and Australian Lutheran missionaries continued their activities, and in 1935 Gedaged (or Graged), another Bel language (described in a manuscript grammar by Dempwolff (n.d.)) was adopted as a lingua franca by the mission and was used extensively in education and in church activities. Narer on Karkar Island was an important educational and missionary centre. This period, which I call the Gedaged schools period lasted until 1962, when the mission largely replaced Gedaged with the national lingua franca Tok Pisin (Freyberg 1977, Ross 1996).
Tok Pisin had doubtless already made inroads on Karkar before the second World War, however from about 1935, and was already spoken by most of the population in 1962. Today all Takia speakers are bilingual in Tok Pisin. I call the period during which Tok Pisin has been a lingua franca on Karkar the modern period, as it extends into the present. Recent years have seen a reduction in the influence of the Lutheran Church on Karkar and a growth in a number of smaller Christian denominations. Only one borrowing on the list (‘to fast’) is attributable to this last period, which I call the smaller missions period. The Gedaged schools period and the smaller missions period both overlap with the modern period, but this is necessary if the dating of twentieth-centruty loans is to be as accurate as the data allow.


0. No evidence for borrowing
• Items reflecting a reconstruction in any one of the protolanguages except Proto Western Bel, except where this reconstruction is itself known to reflect a borrowing.
• Phrasal items for which no evidence is available to date the innovation of the phrase.

1. Very little evidence for borrowing
• Used for items where there is no evidence available about either borrowing or inheritance.
• Used for items reflecting a Proto Western Bel reconstruction, as there is a higher probability than for other reconstructed items that the reconstruction itself represents a borrowing.
• Used for items attributed in W13 to ‘Early Oceanic’ because of their canonic form, noted in W10 ‘Notes on borrowed’.

2. Perhaps borrowed
• Used if the the apparent borrowing source is suspect in some way explained by a comment in W22.
3. Probably borrowed
• Used if there are reasons to think the item is borrowed, but no borrowing source can be identified.
• Used if the possible Bargam source item is formally so different from the Takia item that the borrowing source is probably a cognate of the Bargam item in some language as yet unidentified.

4. Clearly borrowed
• Used if the borrowing source is known and there is no reason to doubt that the item is borrowed.


Calquing of phrasal items is probably quite common but hard to detect. I have accordingly only noted certain calqued compounds like tamol-pein [man-woman] ‘people’ which have replaced an earlier Oceanic item.

Comment on borrowed

If this field is filled, it generally contains either the comment ‘No evidence available about either borrowing or inheritance’ or a reconstruction for one of the protolanguages listed below, preceded by the relevant abbreviation:

POc Proto Oceanic

PWOc Proto Western Oceanic

PNGOc Proto New Guinea Oceanic

PNNG Proto North New Guinea

PNgVz Proto Ngero-Vitiaz

PBel Proto Bel

PWBel Proto Western Bel


Bibliographical items used in the database are the following, listed in full in the list of References below: Blust (1995), Hepner (2007), Lynch et al. (2002), Mager (1952), Ross (1988, 1998, 2003, 2007a), Siegel (1987).


Blust, Robert A., 1995. Austronesian comparative dictionary. Computer files. University ofHawai’i, Honolulu.

Dempwolff, Otto, 1937. Vergleichende Lautlehre des Austronesischen Wortschatzes, vol. 2. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer. (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen 17).

—, n.d. Grammar of the Graged language. Unpublished mimeograph, Lutheran Mission, Narer, Karkar Island.

Freyberg, Paul G., 1977. Missionary lingue franche: Bel (Gedaged). In S.A. Wurm, ed.,New Guinea area languages and language study, vol. 3, 855–864. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Harding, Thomas G., 1967. Voyagers of the Vitiaz Straits: A study of a New Guinea trade system. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Hepner, Mark, 2007. Bargam dictionary. Unpublished ms, Summer Institute of Linguistics,Papua New Guinea Branch. http://www.sil.org/pacific/png/show_work.asp?id=535.

Kirch, Patrick V., 1997. The Lapita peoples: Ancestors of the Oceanic world. Oxford: Blackwell.

Kirch, Patrick V. and Terry L. Hunt, 1998. Archaeology of the Lapita cultural complex: a critical review. Seattle: Burke Museum. (Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum Monograph 5).

Lilley, Ian, 1999. Too good to be true? Post-Lapita scenarios for language and archaeologyin West New Britain–North New Guinea. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 18:25–34.

—, 2000. Migration andd ethnicity in the evolution of Lapita and post-Lapita maritimesocieties in northwest Melanesia. In Sue O’Connor and Peter Veth, eds, East of Wallace’s Line: Studies of past and present maritime cultures of the Indo-Pacific region, 177–195. Rotterdam: Balkema. (Modern Quaternary Research in Southeast Asia 16).

—, In press. The evolution of Sio pottery. In Specht In press.

Lilley, Ian and Jim Specht, In press. The chronology of Type X pottery, Papua New Guinea. In Specht In press.

Lynch, John, Malcolm Ross and Terry Crowley, 2002. The Oceanic languages. Richmond: Curzon Press.

Mager, John F, 1952. Gedaged-English dictionary. Columbus, Ohio: American Lutheran Church, Board of Foreign Missions.

McSwain, Romola, 1977. The past and future people. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Mennis, Mary R., 2006. A potted history of Madang: Traditional culture and change on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Aspley, Queensland: Lalong Enterprises.

Ross, Malcolm, 1988. Proto Oceanic and the Austronesian languages of western Melanesia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

—, 1996. Mission and church languages in Papua New Guinea. In S.A. Wurm, PeterMühlhäusler and D.T. Tryon, eds, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in
the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas, vol. 2.1, Map 60 and 595–617. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 13).

—, 2002. Takia. In John Lynch, Malcolm Ross and Terry Crowley, eds, The Oceanic languages, 216–248. Richmond: Curzon Press.

—, 2007a. Calquing and metatypy. Journal of Language Contact: Thema 1:116–143.

—, 2007b. Reconstructing the history of the Bel languages. Unpublished ms., ResearchSchool of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
Ross, Malcolm, Andrew Pawley and Meredith Osmond, eds, 1998. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: The culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society., vol. 1: Material culture. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. (Pacific Linguistics C-152).

—, eds, 2003. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: The culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society. 2: The physical world. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. (Pacific Linguistics 545).
Sheppard, Peter J. and Richard Walter, 2006. A revised model of Solomon Islands culturehistory. Journal of the Polynesian Society 115:47–76.

Siegel, Jeff, 1987. Spreading the word: Fijian missionaries in the New Guinea islands. In Donald C. Laycock and Werner Winter, eds, A world of language: papers presented to Professor S.A. Wurm on his 65th birthday, 613–621. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. (Pacific Linguistics C-100).

Specht, Jim, ed., In press. Archaeology in the Bismarck Archipelago. Sydney: Records of the Australian Museum. (Records of the Australian Museum: Technical Reports).

Specht, Jim, Ian Lilley and William R. Dickinson, 2006. Type X pottery, Morobe Province,Papua New Guinea: petrography and possible Micronesian relationships. Asian Perspectives 45:24–47.

Spriggs, Matthew, 1997. The Island Melanesians. Oxford: Blackwell.

Vanderwal, Ronald L., 1973. Prehistoric studies in central coastal Papua. Ph.D.dissertation, The Australian National University.

Wagner, Herwig and Reiner Hermann, 1986. The Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea: The first hundred years 1886–1896. Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House.


POc Proto Oceanic

PWOc Proto Western Oceanic

PNGOc Proto New Guinea Oceanic

PNNG Proto North New Guinea

PNgVz Proto Ngero-Vitiaz

PBel Proto Bel

PWBel Proto Western Bel