Marquesan LanguageNew Marquesan Language
the DOBES language
Marquesan archipelago's native Polynesian language belongs to the Australian language group. The Marquesan vernacular belongs to the sub-group Proto-Central-East-Polynesia, which in turn is a sub-group of the Proto-Central-Pacific (Pawley 1966; Green 1966; Marck 1996).
The Marquesan is generally classified into two different groups in terms of geography, language and culture: the NW and SE Marquesas. Within these two geographic areas we can also see a dialectical complexity, with each language having different lexicological, phoneological and sometimes morphologic features. The Marquesan dialect is subdivided in two different language groups in the books: Nordmarquesan (='eo'enana) on the Nuku Hiva Isles,'Ua Pou and Ua Huka and Ua Huka and Zuid Marquesan (='eo'enata) on the Hiva'Oa, Tahuata and Fatu Iva Isles in the southeastern part (Green 1966; Wurm & Hattori 1981; Hughes & Fischer 1998).
The distribution between Nordmarquesan and Südmarquesan is historic. Following historic reconstructive theory, Northern and Southern Marquesan shared a series of phoneological innovation that differed as an independent sub-group from proto-Tahitian (i.e. Tahitian, Tuamotuan, Rarotongan and New Zealand Maori) in the tenth and eighteenth centuries AD.
East-Polynesian and northern and southern Marquesan are the most related northern and southern Polynesian language groups, Hawai'ian and Mangarevan, which together form the Proto-Marquesic group. North Marquesan (=N-MRQ) from South Marquesan (=S-MRQ) in several types of PCE (=Proto-Central-Eastern) cells. S-MRQ PCE *f has been maintained like Tahiti and Tuamotuan, while N-MRQ PCE *f has been superseded by /h/ (Hughes & Fischer 1998).
Therefore, South Marquesan is often perceived as "more intimately related" to Tahiti than North Marquesan. While South Marquesan's language is relatively homogeneous - despite some differences in lexis and phonology - the dialectical dialect of the north-western part of the archipelago is much more complicated and it is therefore less clear to speak of "North Marquesan" than one language.
First, the Ua Pu dialect is characterised by maintaining PCE *k, while all other Marquesan dialects - the South Marquesan dialects included - have substituted historical *k with a pit stop ('Ua Pu vs. Nuku Hiva and Hiva 'Oa 'ite "see, know"). Despite these phoneological and even encyclopaedic distinctions between the Nuku Hiva and the Ua Pu dialect, they also have a number of grammar characteristics that clearly distinguish them from the South Marquesan dialects.
Ua Huka is the most difficult language that can be classified as North Marquesan. As a result, it is a language that cannot be clearly described as either North or South Marquesan. Reciprocal loan works from one Marquesan dialect to another have produced many allolexems, which sometimes have two or more shapes (e.g. ko'aka-'o'aka - - ko'ana "find"; maha' e - ma'a'e - tuha'e forgetting"; see in particular Elbert 1982).
At the moment the exact characteristics of the difference between the Marquesan dialects are not known and must be further explored in our work.