Maisin (or Maisan) is a language of Papua New Guinea with both Austronesian and Papuan features. The Austronesian elements are those of the Nuclear Papuan Tip languages. The Papuan element is Binanderean or Dagan. It is spoken by the Maisin people of Oro Province.
|Region||Oro Province, Papua New Guinea|
|2,600 (2000 census)|
|Ending with /i/||Ending with /e/||Ending with /a/||Ending with /o/||Ending with /u/|
|Starting with /i/||/ii/||/ia/|
|Starting with /e/||/ei/||/ee/||/eu/|
|Starting with /a/||/ai/||/aa/||/au/|
|Starting with /o/||/oi/||/oo/||/ou/|
|Starting with /u/||/ua/||/uu/|
[ŋ] and [kʷ] are not phonemic, but are distinguished in the orthography.
Syllables can begin and end with up to one consonant each. I.e., English wrong /rɔŋ/ would be an acceptable word, but strength /streŋθ/ would not. Words can only end in either a vowel or [ŋ]. The vowels /u/ and /o/ never occur word-initially. /β/ never occurs before /o/ or /u/.
|A a||B b||D d||E e||F f||Fw fw||G g||I i||J j||K k||M m|
|N n||O o||R r||S s||T t||U u||V v||W w||Y y||Kw kw||Ŋ ŋ|
Literacy varies from 20% to 80% in different areas.
Negation in MaisinEdit
Negation in Maisin is achieved predominantly by morphology. In the Marua communalect, negation is marked by isaa… -ka (Ross, 1984, p. 50), while in the Sinapa communalect, negation is marked by saa… -ka (Ross, 1984, p. 79). The negation marking is discontinuous (Ross, 1984, p. 50).
Isaa is a morpheme located prior to the predicate of the sentence, and can be roughly glossed as ‘not’ in English. Morphologically, it is classified as a separate word (Ross, 1984, p. 50). -ka is an enclitic that is found attached to a verb’s tense- or aspect-marking enclitic. Alternatively, when there is no tense- or aspect-marking enclitic in the sentence, it attaches to the predicate’s last item (Ross, 1984, p. 50). Negation through isaa... -ka can be seen in the following examples.
'He isn't swimming.' (Ross, 1984, p. 50)
In Example 1, the verb stem 'swim’ takes both the progressive marker -ye (created through partial reduplication of the verb stem yee (Ross, 1984, p. 41) and the negative enclitic -ka, as well as the male second-person singular pronominal enclitic. The enclitic -ka attaches to the progressive marker -ye. The combination of isaa and -ka in the sentence negates the action of swimming.
bendooka isaa raatika
bendoo-ka isaa raati-ka
Bendo-TOP not small-NEG
'Bendo is very big.' (lit. 'Bendo isn't small.') (Ross, 1984, p. 50)
Here negation is also shown through isaa… -ka. In this case, -ka is attached directly to the end of the predicate, as there is no tense- or aspect-marking present. The first -ka in the sentence (in bendoo-ka) is not a negative marker; rather, it is a homophonous morpheme that functions as a topic marker (Ross, 1984, p. 51).
bendooka isaa vareyananka
bendoo-ka isaa var-e-anan-ka
Bendo-TOP not house-LOC-FUT-NEG
'Bendo won't be in the house.' (Ross, 1984, p. 50)
In Example 3, -ka is found attached to the enclitic -anan, which marks future tense. Again, negation is achieved through the combination of isaa and -ka.
Maisin negation with isaa onlyEdit
In the presence of the conjunction -ate or the demonstrative -nen, the -ka enclitic is removed, leaving isaa as the sole negation marker in the sentence. This occurs because -ate and -nen are both located in the same position in a word as -ka (Ross, 1984, p. 50). isaa-only negation is demonstrated in the following examples.
isaa iraarananeŋka isaa aaranaŋka
isaa i-ar-ar-anan-nen-ka isaa a-ar-anan-ka
not he-PROG-go-FUT-that-TOP not I-go-FUT-NEG
'If he doesn't go, I shan't go.' (Ross, 1984, p. 50)
The presence of the demonstrative morpheme -nen in the first clause of Example 4 displaces (and removes) -ka. Thus, isaa is the sole negator of the clause.
bendooka isaa ikanate arauku
bendoo-ka isaa i-kan-ate a-ra-uku
Bendo-TOP not he-eat-and I-come-descend
'Before Bendo had eaten, I arrived.' (lit. 'Bendo didn't eat and then I arrived.') (Ross, 1984, p. 50)
This example shows the presence of the conjunction -ate, which is attached to the end of the verb stem kan. This removes -ka and again leaves isaa as the only negation marker in the sentence.
Maisin negation within Oceanic language familyEdit
Maisin is an Oceanic language (Eberhard, Simons, & Fennig, 2019), and its negation system is fairly typical of Oceanic languages. Oceanic languages often express negation discontinuously (Crowley, Lynch, & Ross, 2001, p. 51), with the first element located preverbally and the second postverbally (Crowley et al., 2001, p. 51) – Maisin fits this pattern, as the above examples demonstrate.
Additionally, Maisin follows both the Polynesian pattern of marking negation clause-initially and the Papuan pattern of marking negation clause-finally (Crowley et al., 2001, p. 51).
List of abbreviationsEdit
- FUT = 'final' future enclitic
- LOC = locative enclitic
- NEG = negative enclitic
- PROG = progressive aspect
- TOP = topic marker enclitic (Ross, 1984, p. 2) 
The first interlinear text example was retrieved from page 50 of Maisin: A Preliminary Sketch by Malcolm Ross. The glossing of the morphemes yee and ye as 'PG' and the verb stem 'swim' respectively means that the negative enclitic -ka is attached to ye 'swim'. This does not seem to fit the description of -ka as attaching to the tense- or aspect-marking enclitic of the predicate. The progressive marker is generated through reduplication (Ross, 1984, p. 41), and so the glossing of each morpheme may be ambiguous - that is, it may not be entirely clear as to whether yee should be glossed as 'PG' or 'swim', and likewise with the morpheme ye. This may explain why the first example seems to deviate from the typical pattern of negation.
- Magori language, a similar case
- Maisin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Maisin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Reesink, Ger; Dunn, Michael (2018). "Contact phenomena in Austronesian and Papuan languages". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 939–985. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Ross, Malcolm (1984). "Maisin: A Preliminary Sketch". Pacific Linguistics. 0 (69): 1–82 – via ProQuest.
- Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "Austronesian". Ethnologue. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
- Crowley, Terry; Lynch, John; Ross, Malcolm (2001). "Typological Overview". The Oceanic Languages. Routledge. p. 51. ISBN 9780700711284.
- Crowley, T., Lynch, J., & Ross, M. (2001). The Oceanic Languages. Oxford: Routledge.
- Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (eds.) (2019). Austronesian. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/austronesian
- Ray, Sidney H. (Jul–Dec 1911). "Comparative notes on Maisin and other languages of eastern Papua". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 41: 397–405. doi:10.2307/2843181. JSTOR 2843181.
- Ross, Malcolm (1984). Maisin: a preliminary sketch. Pacific Linguistics.
- Ross, M. (1984). Maisin: A preliminary sketch. Pacific Linguistics, 0(69), 1-82. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/
- Strong, W. M. (Jul–Dec 1911). "The Maisin Language". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 41: 381–396. doi:10.2307/2843180. JSTOR 2843180.
- Bada ari Foraga ari Buandi ari nane, ai Totoruga Muanfafusi The Service of Holy Communion in the Maisin Language (1921 translation digitized by Richard Mammana)
- Maisin organised phonology data
- Materials on Maisin are included in the open access Arthur Capell collections (AC1 and AC2) held by Paradisec
- Paradisec also has a number of other collections in the Maisin language