anu - au/gau

Alan Jones aajones at
Sun Mar 5 07:22:29 UTC 2000

Dear All,

I feel emboldened by John Wolff's recent contribution to suggest that Mekeo
au(-nga) and cognate Motu gau(-na) could be related to some proto *anu. The
loss of a medial -n- would not be unusual. The suffixes -nga and -na are
3rd person singular agreement markers. (Mekeo and Motu are coastal
Austronesian languages of Central Province, PNG).

I have  long been aware that Mekeo au-nga fulfils many of the functions of
Indonesian yang, and in particular forms 'relative clauses', as in:

                        Lai,            a-afi-a         au-'a
                        1PL.EXC REL     1PL-take-3SG    REL-3PL.EXC
                        We, who took it / We, the takers

                        Isa,            e-afi-a         au-nga
                        3SG             3SG-take-3SG    REL-3SG
                        S/he, who took it / S/he, the taker

As in Pamona, au- can easily be translated as "the ones who..." Motu gau
means 'thing' according to some sources. In Mekeo it is homophonous with
the word for 'man' (as wll as 'thing' and 'wood').


Alan Jones

Alan A. Jones,
Centre for English Teaching,
The University of Sydney.

Tel. (02) 9817 6067
Fax. (02) 9817 6419

More information about the An-lang mailing list