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Journal Articles Oceanic Linguistics Year : 2021

Toward a comparative typology of ‘eating’ in Kanak languages


This paper aims to explore the diversity for expressing food ingestion in some Oceanic languages (mainly Kanak/New Caledonian and Polynesian languages), and intends to map out the convergences and divergences attested among these languages. Five main points are addressed: first, a brief historical and environmental survey; secondly, the parameters of the different 'eat' verbs among the Kanak languages, in comparison with the differentiation made in other Oceanic languages. In Kanak languages, the lexical field of expressions for 'eating' does not relate to a homogeneous or consistent domain: each 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. Thirdly, a typological perspective will show how Kanak, and more widely, Oceanic languages, are organized according to the aspects of the context incorporated into the meaning expressed in various languages together with the basic action of eating. Fourthly, the case of languages with possessive classifiers reserved for specific kinds of food nouns and their semantic comparison with the different 'eat' verbs will be investigated; and finally, some syntactic considerations will show how diverse are the 'eat' verbs valency constructions in Oceanic languages.


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Dates and versions

hal-03094721 , version 1 (04-01-2021)
hal-03094721 , version 2 (26-07-2021)
hal-03094721 , version 3 (15-04-2022)



Anne-Laure Dotte, Claire Moyse-Faurie. Toward a comparative typology of ‘eating’ in Kanak languages. Oceanic Linguistics, 2021, 60 (1), ⟨10.1353/ol.2021.0006⟩. ⟨hal-03094721v3⟩
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