This paper aims to explore the diversity of expressions for food ingestion in some Oceanic languages, and intends to map out the convergences and divergences attested among these languages. Six main points are addressed: first, a brief historical and environmental survey will be presented; second, the parameters distinguishing 'eat' verbs among the Kanak languages will be compared with the differentiation made in other Oceanic languages. In the notional domain under discussion, each Kanak language has its own food noun categories, depending on physical, nutritive or symbolic (cultural) criteria, and distinguished on the basis of the verb they combine with. Third, a typological perspective will show how Kanak is organized with respect to the contextual aspects incorporated into the meaning that is expressed together with the basic action of eating. Then, we will discuss some frequent distinctions found in Oceanic languages to extend the comparison. Fifth, the role of possessive classifiers reserved for specific kinds of food nouns and their relation to different 'eat' verbs will be investigated; and finally, some remarks will be made on the diversity of constructions available for 'eat' verbs in Oceanic languages.


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pp. 199-230
Launched on MUSE
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