- Tahitian language
fam13=Central E. Polynesian
Tahitian, a Tahitic language, is one of the two official languages of
French Polynesia(along with French). It is an Eastern Polynesianlanguage closely related to Rarotongan, New Zealand Māori, and Hawaiian.
Tahitian is primarily spoken in the Îles de la Société (
Society Islands), which includes, notably, the island of Tahiti(which is where the capital of French Polynesia, Pape’ete, is situated). It is also spoken on the "Tuha’a pae" (les Australes, the five Austral Islands) and on the islands of l'Archipel des Tuamotu as a second language (the Tuamotu Archipelago). The languages of the Marquesan group (see Marquesic languages) are completely distinct. In general, the peoples of French Polynesia who speak one language, speak French, if two, then Tahitian is added, if three, then their local language or dialect is added. Furthermore, there is a diverse diaspora of Tahitian speakers throughout Oceania, including pockets as far south as New Zealand.
With respect to cognate languages, some oft-quoted figures include 76% lexical similarity with Hawaiian and 85% with Rarotongan. For example - Tahitian "ra’i" (sky) is "lani" in Hawaiian, and "rangi" in both Rarotongan and Māori. Another example is "fare" (house), represented by "hale" in Hawaiian, "'are" in Rarotongan and "whare" in Māori (where 'wh' is approximately pronounced 'f').
Considering the distance between, for example, Hawaiokinai and Tahiti, this degree of similarity is of particular note. Both the Hawaiians and the Tahitians have lived in their respective archipelagos for centuries; infrequent contact between the two cultures was made using double-hulled sailing canoes.
Captain Cookmentions the large canoes being used in the 1760's. To celebrate this feat of ocean navigation, the vessel "Hōkūle‘a" traveled from Honolulu to Papeete in 1976. It is of note that the Tahitian language was even used at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006, when Monaco's Severine Ferrerperformed La Coco Dancewhich featured Tahitian chanting.
Typologically, Tahitian word order is VSO (Verb-Subject-Object), which is typical of Polynesian languages. It also features a very small number of phonemes, as further evidence of its linguistic heritage: five vowels and eight consonants not counting the lengthened vowels,
diphthongs and the glottal stop.
The glottal stop or "’eta" is a genuine consonant. (People unfamiliar with Tahitian might mistake it for a punctuation mark.) This is typical of
Polynesian languages(compare to the Hawaiian okinaokina and others). However, in Tahitian the glottal stops are seldom written in practice, and if they are, often as a straight apostrophe' , instead of the curly apostrophe. The native speakers know where to pronounce them and are not taught to write them down. Alphabetical word ordering in dictionaries ignores the existence of glottals. Admittedly, the Tahitian glottal is normally weak, except in a few words like "i’a" (fish), and easily missed by the untrained ear of the non-native speaker.
Tahitian makes a phonemic distinction between long and short vowels; long vowels are marked with a "tārava" or
macron. For example, "pāto", meaning "to pick, to pluck" and "pato", "to break out", are distinguished solely by their vowel length. However, macrons are seldom written.
Finally there is a "toro ’a’ï", a trema put on the i, but only used in "ïa" when used as a
reflexive pronoun. It does not indicate a different pronunciation.
Although the use of "’eta" and "tārava" is equal to the usage of such symbols in other Polynesian languages, is promoted by "l'Académie Tahitienne", and is adopted by the territorial government, there are at least a dozen other ways of applying accents. Some methods are historical and no longer used, while others are heavily promoted by people who think they know better. This only adds to the confusion. [http://www.farevanaa.pf/theme_detail.php?id=5 See list] . At this moment l'Académie Tahitienne seems to have not made a final decision yet whether the `eta should appear as a small normal curly comma (’) or a small inverted curly comma (‘). Compare
Further, Tahitian syllables are entirely open, as is usual in Polynesian languages. In its morphology, Tahitian relies on the use of "helper words" (such as
prepositions, articles, and particles) to encode grammatical relationships, rather than on inflection, as would be typical of European languages. It is practically an isolating language, except when it comes to the personal pronouns, which have separate forms for singular, pluraland dual numbers.
Taboo names (pi’i)
In many parts of Polynesia the name of an important leader was (and sometimes still is) considered sacred and was therefore accorded appropriate respect. In order to avoid offence, all words resembling such a name were suppressed and replaced by another term of related meaning until the personage died. If, however, the leader should happen to live to a very great age this temporary substitution could become permanent.In the rest of Polynesia "tū" means to stand, but in Tahitian it is "ti’a", because of king Tū-nui-’ē’a-i-te-atua. likewise "fetū" (star) has become in Tahiti "feti’a" and aratū (pillar) became arati’a. Although "nui" (big) still occurs in some compounds, like Tahiti-nui, the normal word is "rahi" (which is common Polynesian for 'large'). And also "’ē’a" fell in disuse, replaced by "purūmu" or "porōmu". Nowadays "’ē’a" means 'path', "purūmu" is 'road'.Tū also had a nickname, Pō-mare (night coughing), under which his dynasty has become best known. By consequence "pō" (night) became "ru`i" (nowadays only used in the
Bible, pō having become the normal word again), but "mare" (literally cough) has irreversibly been replaced by "hota".Other examples: "vai" (water) became "pape" as in the names of Papeari, Papeno’o, Pape’ete. "moe" (sleep) became "ta’oto" (the original meaning of which was 'to lie down'). Some of the old words are still used on the Leewards.
* [http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/Tahitian-english/ Tahitian–English dictionary]
* [http://www.farevanaa.pf/ Académie Tahitienne — Fare Vāna’a]
* [http://www.punareo.pf/web/index.php?lang=fp Puna Reo — Cultural Association, English section too]
* [http://www.cadeaux-express.com/tahiti/lexique-tahitien.php Lexique Français–Tahitien (with some english words)]
* [http://zipangz.homestead.com/index.html A short English–Tahitian–Japanese phrasebook] incl. sound files
*Y. Lemaître; Lexique du tahitien contemporain; 1973 ISBN 2-7099-0228-1
* same; second, reviewed edition, 1995 ISBN 2-7099-1247-3
*T. Henry; Ancient Tahiti – Tahiti aux temps anciens
*D.T. Tryon; Conversational Tahitian; ANU 1970
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Look at other dictionaries:
Tahitian — could refer to* the Tahitian language * a resident of Tahiti or, occasionally, from elsewhere in French Polynesia, or something from these islands … Wikipedia
Tahitian Sandpiper — Taxobox name = Tahitian Sandpiper status = EX status system = iucn3.1 when=19th century regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Charadriiformes familia = Scolopacidae genus = Prosobonia species = P. leucoptera binomial =… … Wikipedia
Tahitian — [tə hēsh′ən, tähēsh′ən; tähēt′ē ən] adj. of Tahiti or its people, language, or culture n. 1. a person born or living on Tahiti 2. the Polynesian language spoken on Tahiti … English World dictionary
Tahitian ukulele — Infobox instrument name = Tahitian Ukulele names = image capt = color = #FFEC8B classification = String instrument (plucked) range = related = ukulele, lute musicians = builders = articles =The Tahitian ukulele (also known as the Tahitian banjo)… … Wikipedia
Tahitian — [tα: hi:ʃ(ə)n, hi:tɪən] noun 1》 a native or national of Tahiti, or a person of Tahitian descent. 2》 the Polynesian language of Tahiti. adjective relating to Tahiti, its people, or their language … English new terms dictionary
Tahitian — Ta•hi•tian [[t]təˈhi ʃən, ti ən, tɑ [/t]] n. 1) peo a native or inhabitant of Tahiti 2) peo the Austronesian language of the Society Islands, used as a lingua franca throughout French Polynesia 3) peo of or pertaining to Tahiti, its inhabitants,… … From formal English to slang
language — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) System of communication Nouns 1. language, tongue, lingo, vernacular, mother tongue, protolanguage; living or dead language; idiom, parlance, phraseology; wording; dialect, patois, cant, jargon, lingo,… … English dictionary for students
Tahitian — noun Date: 1825 1. a native or inhabitant of Tahiti 2. the Polynesian language of the Tahitians • Tahitian adjective … New Collegiate Dictionary
Tahitian — /teuh hee sheuhn, tee euhn, tah /, adj. 1. of or pertaining to Tahiti, its inhabitants, or their language. n. 2. a native or inhabitant of Tahiti. 3. the Polynesian language of Tahiti. [1815 25; TAHITI + AN] * * * … Universalium
Tahitian — 1. noun a) A native or inhabitant of Tahiti. b) The Polynesian language of Tahiti. 2. adjective Of, or relating to Tahiti, or to its people or language … Wiktionary