In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

202 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 66, NUMBER 1 (1990) Exceptionally in the Oceanic field, the present work (DXF) is the second dictionary of the same language—known variously as Canala and Xârâcùù—to be published in eleven years, and the third to be produced in 23 years (cf. A.-G. Haudricourt, Dictionnaire canala-fran- çais [ms., 1963], and G. W. Grace, EnglishCanala Dictionary [Canberra, 1975]). It contains a clearly written 18-page introduction which locates Xârâcùù on the map of New Caledonia , discusses the regional linguistic situation , and then offers a thumbnail sketch of syllable structure, consonant and vowel inventory, accent, phonetic variation, and phonetic adaptations in loans. The introduction concludes with a concise sketch of the history of Xârâcùù lexicography, beginning with the work of an anonymous 19th-century Marist father and ending with a description of the fieldwork of Claire Moyse-Faurie. It is followed by a bibliography, three pages of notes which compare the geographically contiguous and closely related Xârâc ùù and Xârâgurè languages, and a one-page description of the alphabetic order employed. The main body of the dictionary contains some 4,000 Xârâcùù entries. This is followed by a 44-page section ('Nomenclatures') which extracts the terms for flora and fauna from the dictionary proper and lists them by semantic category (birds, mollusks, fish, plants, cultivated plants). To the credit ofthe compilers, Linnaean binomials are used in many of the glosses. A 32page French-Xârâcùù index concludes the work. Bilingual dictionaries of minor languages potentially serve two types of user: speakers of the minor language who wish to gain a practical command of the major language (in this case French), and those with a scientific interest in the minor language itself. In her introduction Moyse-Faurie notes that the orthography which she and Néchéro-Jorédié proposed in 1982 was first tested experimentally in adult literacy programs , and that a slightly modified version has been successfully used in the district schools since March, 1985. For the general scholar DXF provides a substantial body of material for comparative purposes . The first thing likely to strike the Austronesian comparativist is the typological divergence of Xârâcùù (and many other languages of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands ) from the typical Oceanic language. To give a particularly striking example, whereas Proto-Oceanic had five vowels (i, e, a, o, u), Xârâcùù has 17: front oral vowels I'll [i], IeI [e], IeI [e], central oral vowels /ill [i], IeI [?], IeI [?], /a/ [a], back oral vowels /u/ [u], lo/ [o], loi [o], front nasal vowels /î/ [î], ê [e], central nasal vowels lui [+], /á/ [A], là/ [a], and back nasal vowels /û/ [û], loi [O]. Unlike some other Oceanic languages with divergent typological features (e.g. Trukese, with a nine vowel system ), Xârâcùù appears to contain very few reflexes of established Proto-Oceanic forms, thus hindering efforts to determine how the language evolved into its present form. Where probable reflexes can be identified, as with *paka- > fa- 'causative prefix', *qupi > ku 'yam', *qurarj > kûâ 'crustacean', *qawa > kwa (for expected **kakwa?) 'milkfish', *wanka > kwâ 'boat', *waRos > kwâ 'liana', *waiR > kwé 'water', *wakaRi > kwèè 'root', *me > mê 'and, with', *mai/maRi > mê 'come; toward the speaker', *Rumaq > mwa 'house', and *niuR > nu 'coconut ', nasalized vowels seem to have arisen both in nasal and in nonnasal environments (as next to POC *r and *R, which may first have merged). However, details of this and of other aspects of the historical phonology are likely to remain obscure until much more comparative work is done. I have two practical criticisms. First, dictionaries tend to receive heavy use, whether from language learners or from comparativists. For this reason they should be more sturdily bound than this one. Second, a larger typeface would have been more 'user-friendly'. As it is, the important vowel diacritics are sometimes difficult to make out. Apart from these printing matters Moyse-Faurie and Néchéro-Jorédié are to be congratulated on producing a book which gives every indication of serving both the practical user and the scholar well. [Robert Blust, University of Hawaii.] Text und Bild...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 202-203
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.