Looking for source of a loan word

John Brownie j-m.brownie at SIL.ORG.PG
Tue Aug 1 22:42:41 UTC 2006

In Mussau-Emira (St Matthias Group, far north of New Ireland Province,
Papua New Guinea), the word "Sabbath" has been borrowed as "Sambati".
Mussau-Emira doesn't have prenasalisation, so we're wondering how it
came to be that, rather than a form like "Savata" or "Savati".

The first Seventh-day Adventist missionaries were Solomon Islanders,
taught by Fijians, we think, and the first orthography was the Fijian
orthography, ignoring the prenasalisation. We don't know where in the
Solomons the missionaries came from. They were followed by Australians a
year or so later.

Apart from Fijian, other possible sources might be Kuanua, the language
of the Tolai people, or even a language around Port Moresby, where there
were early SDA missionaries. Does anyone else have a suggestion as to
which language might be the source?

John Brownie, john_brownie at sil.org or j-m.brownie at sil.org.pg
Summer Institute of Linguistics      | Mussau-Emira language, Mussau Is.
Ukarumpa, Eastern Highlands Province | New Ireland Province
Papua New Guinea                     | Papua New Guinea

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