Futunan is a Polynesian language, spoken on the islands of Futuna and Alofi, which are part of the French territory of Wallis and Futuna in the South-West Pacific Ocean. There are also speakers of Futunan in South province of New Caledonia, and elsewhere in the Francophone Pacific. In 2015 there were about 3,900 speakers of Futunan in Wallis and Futuna, and another 2,900 in New Caledonia.
The language is also known as Futunan, Futunian, or East Futunan, in order to distinguish it from West Futunan or Futuna-Aniwa, which is spoken on the islands of West Futuna and Aniwa in Vanuatu.
The linguistic lineage for Futunan is: Polynesian, Nuclear Polynesian, Samoic-Outlier, Futunic. Futunan is not mutually intelligible with the language of Wallis, the third island in the territory (also known as Uvea).
The vowel inventory of Futunan consists of the five "cardinal" vowels and is similar to most other Polynesian languages in that respect. These vowels have approximately Spanish values and also occur geminated.
The consonant inventory consists of eleven consonants as listed below and is one of the larger ones in Polynesia (Tongan exhibits the maximium with twelve segments).
The Futunan syllable structure may be summarised as follows: (C)V(V), i.e.: (an optional consonant, followed by an) obligatory vowel (or geminated vowel).
Full and partial reduplication as well as prefixes and suffixes are used extensively for word formation and the expression of various grammatical and semantic categories. The causative prefix is faka-.
The information on this page comes from Emanuel Fuchs, a linguist from Vienna, Austria.
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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