Volume 53 1944 > Volume 53, No. 3 > The languages of the island of Choiseul, British Solomon Islands, by P. A. Lanyon-Orgill, p 75-85
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THE LANGUAGES OF THE ISLAND OF CHOISEUL, BRITISH SOLOMON ISLANDS.

THE large island of Choiseul lies in the western part of the Solomon Archipelago in Melanesia, and was named after Étienne François, Duc de Choiseul (1719-1785). It lies to the south-east of Bougainville, north-west of Ysabel, and north of the New Georgian archipelago; and stretches from N.W. to S.E. from 156° 20′ E, 6° 40′ S, to 157° 50′ E, 7° 30′ S.

Of the languages little is generally known in print, except two grammars given by Ray 1 of Kiposaka and Bambatana. He has also discussed some of the materials and the relationship of the dialects with the Indonesian. Thurnwald's map of 1912 shows the distribution of some of the dialects. 2

In 1914 I printed a short comparative vocabulary of Bambatana, Varese and Kiposaka, 3 and more recently I have shown the connections between these three languages and those of the neighbouring island of Bougainville. 4

But a large amount of very valuable material still remains in manuscript, as may be seen from the following list. Since there is a very great danger of these fragmentary pieces of information on the languages of this little known island being lost I venture to put on permanent record a complete list of Choiseul dialects and a short comparative vocabulary of seven of them, both in order to bring them before English-speaking students and to offer a more complete and correct copy of my earlier versions.

(1) PHILOLOGICAL MATERIALS.

1. Printed.

(a) Ray: A Comparative Study of the Melanesian Island Languages (1926), pp. 567-584.

(b) Johann Kolagbaumen: Grammatik der Uaresi-Sprache, ges-prochen in Insel-Choiseul (Berlin, Ernst Seigfried, Mittler und Sohn, 1913).

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(c) S. H. Ray: “The Polynesian Languages in Melanesia, with notes on the neighbouring Melanesian Languages (Anthropos, 14-15 p. 48).

[Includes the following “Bambatana” words:—

  • Viu, pale, bird
  • Tama, father
  • Karisi, hand
  • Kuvuku, smoke
  • Ile, die
  • Ingana, fish
  • Gurugu, leaf
  • Katura, stone
  • Talinga, ear
  • Sire, fly n.
  • Ngutu, louse
  • Ndai, weep]
  • Mata, eye

(d) Lanyon-Orgill: Notes sur les Dialectes de Choiseul, aux Iles Salomons (1941).

(e) Lanyon-Orgill: Étude sur les Langues de Choiseul et de Bougainville, Iles Salomons (1943).

2. Manuscript.

(a) Short notes received from Mr. Gabriel Lessington, including the numerals:—

  1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Gongoroi Bay (Bambatana) Kole Rua Tolu
Kotoratele (Mara island) Kala Rua Tolu
Kunabena Kale Ru Tolu Vati Lima
Liuliu Kaleh Rhu Tolhu Vatsi Rima
cf. Kiposaka (Ray) Kala Rua Pisa Vasi Lima
Bambatana (Ray) Koeke Kere Tulu Vati Lima

(b) “Choiseul Vocabularies, supplied by Rev. J. R. Metcalfe”. A 52-page manuscript in the Library of the School of Oriental Studies, London. This is a copy of the original, made by Dr. Capell and lent to S. H. Ray. It is by far the most valuable manuscript, containing a comparative vocabulary of Babatana (i.e. Bambatana), Tabataha (i.e. Tarikukuri), Varese, Ririo, Seqa (i.e. Tambatamba) and Kiruqela.

(c) “Vocabolarium Choiseulium”. An 8-page manuscript in the Library of the University of Vienna, containing the Ririo and “Seqa” of manuscript (b). An identical copy was also in the Library of the Royal Anthropological Society in Naples, but this has probably been destroyed.

(d) “Vocabulary of the Bubutana Language of Choiseul is., with vocabularies of Rubiana and Marovo, New Guinea, by Archdeacon Comins. Received from Dr. Codrington March 3, 1902”. This 8-page manuscript includes seventy words in the Varese dialect. In the Library of the School of Oriental Studies, London.

(e) “Vocabulary of the Bumbatana Dialect, Choiseul island, Solomon is. by E. Bourne”. This manuscript includes two vocabularies, one by Bourne dated June 1900, and the other the same as manuscript (d). At the end are eight words in “Bombatana”, a different dialect. The manuscript was copied by S. H. Ray in June 1909, and this copy is among the Ivens' papers in the Library of the School of Oriental Studies in London.

(2) List of Languages. 5

A. South-West Coast.

  • 1. Kiposaka, around Siorana (the mission station in 7° S. lat.), and for a distance of twenty miles to the N.W. including the villages
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  • of Sasa, Sasamonga, Vuri, Koloe, Dara, Vanga, and Sardevona. Grammar by Ray (pp. 568-571), and vocabularies by Comins, Bourne, and Lanyon-Orgill.
  • 2. Mole, to the N.W. of Kiposaka and interspersed with it.
  • 3. Tarikukuri or Tabataba, at the north-western corner of the island, in the valleys of the rivers Warrior and Mulamabuli, and on numerous islands in Choiseul bay, including Redman island. Vocabulary by Metcalfe.
  • 4. Bambatana (Metcalfe Babatana, Comins Bubutana, Bourne Bumbatana), to the south of the Kiposaka region, as far east as 157° E. long. The area includes Gongoroi bay and Tasombi point, and the villages of Magarata, Pandi, Boi, Sarora, Uunuma, Salavakana, Siepa (inland), Kiu, Kansana, Tinoi, Nambisassa, Simoto, and Banganoi (moving north to south). Grammar by Ray (pp. 571-584), and vocabularies by Metcalfe, Rooney, Waterhouse, and Lanyon-Orgill.
  • 5. Katoratele, east of Bambatana for a distance of ten miles. Notes by Lessington.
  • 6. Sumbi, along the south coast.

B. North-East Coast.

  • 1. Kunabena or Bota, to the east of the Tarikukuri region, including Tombatomba and Kangopassa islands. Notes by Lessington.
  • 2. Liuliu, south of Kunabena. Notes by Lessington.
  • 3. Varese or Uaresi, between Liuliu and c. Giraud. Grammar by Kolagbaumen, and vocabularies by Metcalfe, Comins, Bourne, and Lanyon-Orgill.
  • 4. Ririo, scattered points in Varese region. Vocabulary by Metcalfe.
  • 5. Tambatamba or Sengga, to the south-east of c. Giraud and east of the Sienga mountains and mt. Gourdin. Vocabulary by Metcalfe.
  • 6. Kirunggela (First cape; Robroy-Th.), at eastern end. Vocabulary by Metcalfe.
  • 7. Vagena (Waginna-Th.), on the island lying off the eastern end of Choiseul.

C. Inland.

  • 1. Singasinga, between the Kiposaka and Varese regions.
  • 2. Gumbinengo, or Tuga, inland from Bambatana.
  • 3. Maran, between the Gumbinengo and Tambatamba regions.
(3) COMPARATIVE VOCABULARY.

In the following vocabulary Metcalfe's alphabet is used for the most part, although I have substituted ng for his ñ, and ngg for his q (Comins n and g respectively).

B is pronounced as mb, d as nd, j as nj or nz, and g is always hard. K, 1, m, n, h, c, p, r, s, t, v and z (Comins ch) have their usual values.

The Kiposaka words are from Bourne's manuscript and the rest from Metcalfe, unless otherwise indicated. Other sources are shown by the letters in parentheses after the respective words, as follows: (C) Comins; (R) Rooney; and (W) Waterhouse.

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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Arecanut Lasi Kasu Kasu Koso Kasu Kasu
Arm Karisi Loma Korisi, kurisi (R.) Karisi Karesi Korisi Korisi
Arrow Tuana Panja Tona, papao Suana-lepo Tuana, popo Tona, papao Tona
Ashes Nggola Kau Lodu (C.) Ko, luju Kau Ruma
Bad Sata Roka Sakata (C.) Sata Roka Sakatana
Bamboo Vuligi Loso Loso Laso Losu Losa-nabi Kabo-nabi
Banana Lade, siku Songga Siku Songga Suangga Siku Sopeke
Barter Varikavalo Varasoka, talaku (W.) Varisoka Varasuaa Arasuka Arasuka
Basket Kazakoko Kida-ka-koko, tanga (R.) Ebata-koko, dapa (W.) Kapuro-koo Kiba-kakoko Kibakakoko
Belly Sopa Koba Mane Sapa, sopa (C.) Sope Sea Sea
Bird Viu Pale-rogovo Roroko Nggale-bala-uku, pale (C.) Roroo Roroko Roroko
Bite Kabala Kabala Lobe Kabale Kabala Lobe, lube Lobe
Black Pongopongo, kune Sino Nggiso Kune (C.) Kueje Koje Koze
Blood Parasa Madaka Nggarasa, parasa (C.) Madaka Madaka Madaka
Boat, canoe Botu Mola (R), botu koaka (= small canoe, R.) Mola (C), botu Butu Butu Koaka
Body Tokama-nggu Tono Tinini Takamana, tokama (C.) Dile Sinini Tinini
Bone Voro Puda Vuri (C.), uri Puda Pada, poda Poda
Bow Vuru Voro Bokala Vuru (C.) Bokala Bokala
Boy Suka Sua-leke (R.) Suka
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Bowels Sopa Koba Sala Sale Koba Koba
Breadfruit Baleo Barego Bario Barego Bario Bario, barelo Bareo
Breast Susu Susu Susu Susu Susu Sosu Susu
Bury Nggola Garasapini (R.), ludu Vou Luju Ludu Ludu
Butterfly Pepepele Pepepele Bebeko (C.), Bebeako Pepepele Pipepele Pipepele
Chief Bac Bovoe Batu Boc Boe Boe
Child Nale Sua, toti (R.) Sale, sesale (C.) Sua So Soa
Cloud Toba Toba Topu Tuaba Toba Tunggi
Club Manza Kobavo Kubau, manga (W.) Kobau Kubo Kubau Kubau
Cocount Kuda Kuda Kuda Kuda, kudi (C.) Kuda Koda Koda
Cold, sickness Lolomu Kasolo, Lulumu Kasolo, lulumu (W.) Lolomic (C.), kasola Koesele, lulumu Kosele, lulumu Kosele, lulumu
Come Lama Lama Me, zo-me (R.) Lama Me Me Moe
Crocodile Puku Esoro Puku Pareke Puereke Poku Puku
Darkness Kamojo Rupa Rodoko Rupa Rupa, remini Rumini
Daylight Rano Tava, tavata (R.) Musanggara To Dava Dava
Die, dead I-le Le Le, lē (R.) Le Li Le Le
Dig Sula Vasi, siki (R.) Sola Para Para Rapa
Dog Vasi, sika Soka Para Sika Bec Siki Siki
Door, doorway Kokonggu Kokopana, kutokuto (R.) Kokonggu, tara-ke-nangga (C.) Kukuapana Kukupana Kukupana
Drink Usa-posoma Goki-bisi Ge-besi Zike-bic Oke-bi Oke-bi
Ear Talina Talongana Talenge Nggenggele, talinga (C.) Nggeli Talanga Talanga
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Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Earth, soil Lua, pua Roka Lua Nggua Piaa Lua Lua
Eat Nganga Nganga Gaki, goki Nganga Gepi Aki Oke
Egg Tunana Lungga Ningga Ningga, tunana Ningga Nongga Nongga
Elbow Tungutungu Pupuku Pukupuku Pupuku Popuku Popuku
Eye Mata Mata Mate Mata Mat' Mate, mata Mata
Face Taramuana Repata-mati (R.), tara-kenaka Mata (C), tarakenangga Tarakeanaka Tarakenaka Tarake-vaka
Father Mama Tama (R.), mama Tama (C), mama (C.) Laamamu Mama Tama
Fear Gelo Zisi Sareki Zesi Isi Isi
Feather Sava Sava Sava So Sava Savae
Finger Kakarafutu Karaputu Kurupiti (R.), tutuku Kakarupulu (C), kaka-raputu Karopoc Perokete, pipirokete Peperokete
Fire Nako Nako Nako Nako (C.) Noo Nako Nako
Fish Gwati, kuati, inggana Ingana Kuate Ingana (C.) Piat' Koete Kaete
Flesh Vosigo Zio Vigo (C), manu Tazisara Zio Iona
Flower Sisiri Vovore Bobolia Ureure Vuvure Boboli, vevere Orena
Fly (n.) Sire (R.) Sire (C.)
Fly (v.) Rogovo Riri Bauku Buru Reri Riri
Food Pota-usausa Petanigaki Patagege Papa-ni-geki Peta-naki Peta-naki
Foot Pepetara, panggara Tetepara-zikini Pepetarana-mako Titiaparanikini Teteparanikini Teteparaikini
Forehead Mamalevu Nenengga (?) Rae Niniangga Ngnengga Memulu
Fowl, wild- Kokorako Kokorako Kokorako (C.) Kokorako Kokorako Kokorako
Fruit Vure Vurena Boli (R), Bobolia Urena, vure (C.) Vuvurea Veverea, bolia Ore
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Give Nanggoa Make Teke Tine-la Kana Kine
Go Za Nggalo Zo-la (R.), zo Ja Zo Zo Zo
Good Velaka Vilaka Noe Velaka (C.) Titipa Noi Dikana
Great Lavata La'ata (R.) pou Lavata (C.) Laavue Pou Leva
Hair Guruku Ola Vuringi Gurugu (C.), uguru Vurunge Vazanga Onama
Hand Peptara-lima Tetepara-korisi Pepetarana-karisi Teteapara-kerese Tetepara-korisi Nenepara-kerisi
Hard Ronggo Zongga Makuru (C.), anggi Lege Zongga Zungga
Head Kunsuku Nggonggo Boti Kunzaku (C.), Kuzuku Kujuku Botu Botu
Hear Atazanggi Ngongoro Gate Gata Gata Ase Ate
Hill Sopu Pokana (R.), supu Kubalo Supu Tuba Supu
Hot Hizava Vila Sala (C.), ila Zila Vala Majaka
House Pade Pade Pade Pade (C.) Pede Pade, toke Pade, toke
Husband Tamani-ia Nae-leke Valekeia Neleki Analeki Ona-leki
Kill Vaisa Vai-kodoa Varoka (R.), vui-vale Vae-vale Vivele Voi-vale Voe-vale
Know Tarove Vutini Tarave Veseni Utini Utini
Land, country Nugu Nugu Vudu Vudu Vudu Vodu Udu
Leaf Gurugu Vanga-mokoso Vuruvusu (R), vuringi-gazu Gurugu (C.), uguruna-moki Vurungu-ve Vozanga-azu Onama-azu
Leg Maiki Panggara Zikini Make Nikine Nikini Ikini
Lime Akolo Kidaka Kidaka Kidaka Kadaka Kodaka
Lip Pepesu Pipusu Pepesu (C.) Pipuse Pepusu Pipusu
Live To Poto (R.), tu To Tu Tu To
Liver Manava Momoni, kola (W.) Tatane Cucuene Momoni Kolae
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Louse Panggi Guctu Vutu Nggutu (C), utu Vutu Votu Utu
Male Tamoni Leke Valeke Lek Like Leke
Man, Bosoi Bose (R.) Bosoi (C.)
—, married, Kajigarata Lekekaji Valeke-kaji-garata Leke-kajikarata Bosi-kaji, leke-kaji Leke-kaji
Mat Zakape Lolobo (R.), kobo Kobo (W.), vesu (C.) Kobo Kobo Kobo
Moon Veka Koka Vokene Veka (C), inangga Zinangga Vokene Okene
Mosquito Koviraro Zizima Koveraro (C). kukuvili Kukueli Nonongo Simuku
Mother Inggia Nai (R.), tinai Nanai (C.), sina (C.) Tine Sinae Tina
Mouth Guju Vavanggasa (R.), jope Sangge Jope Jupa Zupa
Nail, finger Susuvili Vanavana Tuputupu, vivinzoto (R.) Vanavana Tuputupu Toputopu, vanavana Poka
Name Zanga Zitongoi (R.) zitenge Zitango Tarazitene Taraitongo Laritongo
Navel Bito Lolokere Buto Loloekere Lulukere Lulukere
Neck Kukune, kunukunu Kunukunu Kukini Kokoli Kukene Kokunu Kukunu
Night Borni Kuse Kuse (C.) Kuese Kose Kose
Nose Engoro Engoro Zinge Ingoro Zinge Zengo Ino
Outrigger-float Kovoro Kongga, soro (W.) Kangga Tuangga Kongga Kungga
Paddle Saropo Saropo Kapo Kapo Kopu Kapo Kopo
Pig Boko Boko, borogo Boko Boko (C.) Bo'o Boko Boko
Pot Loga Sereke Sereke Sereke Sereke Sereke
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Rain Nare Mingga Nare (C.) Mingguru Mangga Mongga
Rat Bur Kuji Ruji Kunzu (O.) Ruju Komo Ruzi
Red Mesara Mesara Mesara Mesara (C.) Miasara Mida, misara Misora
River Guguru Vuru Uguru Vuru Vuru Vuru
Road Suka Zuka Zuka, ezuka (C.) Zikani Zoka Zoka
Root Soga (?), rabutu (?) Labic Logoto, koniki (W.) Labisi (C.) Lebic Longgoto Longgoto
Rope Nonggola Talo Suni Tali Suini Suni Suni
Sago Atovo (=s.-palm) Bisa Bia Bia Bia Bia Bia
Sail Tepe, sele Tepe, saviana Tepe Sele Tepe Tipe Tepe
Salt Mai Tunituni (R.), tikava, keno Mai (C), masi-keno Masi Masi, sua Masi, sua
Sand Karakone Karakone Karakoni Karakuene Karakone Reavana
Scratch Kikiraka Koraka Kirapisi (W.), kikiraka (R.), kiriki Kirake Kirikete Kirikiti Nggiroso
Sea Mas Mac, maere Loka-tikava, (R.), tikava kolo Masi (C), kolana-masi Masi Masi, kolo Luka-masi
See Meganggi Minga Ri Mia Duru Mia Mia
Shark Buriau (?) Bakoe Bozo Bakoae Bove Boza Boza
Sit Koloku Tonggusu Tungunu Kalaku Tukungunu Tongunu Suki
Skin Kapotona Kopai Kapoto (C.), kapatona Kapate Kopai Kopae
Sky Okoka Rani Rani Rene Rani Rani
Sleep Kaamuku Kapc Pamuki Kamuku Kamisa Pamu Pamu
Small Kokoc Vasiki Suka (C.) Dongo Soi Soanade, sol
Smoke Kavuko Puga Kanu Kuvuku (C), kauku Konoko Kanu Kanui, tua
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Snake Doli Doko Dole Dole Daele Dole Dole
Soft, rotten Moc Loloke (R.), musumusu, sora (R.) Malumu (C.), mosumosu Musumusu Mosumosu Musumusu
Sour, bitter Paza, pani Kubu (W.), paza Pani Pene Pasa Kao
Speak Vetala, gabana Vatana (R.), lilio, pijo Seko-sine Nonodu Neoro, sana Nonieke, ngeoro
Spear Bele Bele Bele (C.) Beli Bele Be
Spit Suve Kusu Sue Susui Kosu Kukusu, kusu
Spittle Suvesuve Kukusu Suve (C), muzi Susui Kokosu Kukusu
Stand Degere Tegere Dere Degere Dire Dere Dere
Star Duvi Duvisi Sisiriputu Duvi (C), damiri Sisiriputu Sisiriputu Sisiriputu
Stay Oto Kuo Koe Ko Ko Ko
Stone Katura Ikapa Katura Ikapa Kacura Katora Mudi
Strong Monggere Karaputu Karaputa Karaputa Karaputa Kakaromaka, karapota
Sugar-cane Soro Paraka Paraka Parak Paraka Nggi
Sun Sanga Sanga Kiku Sanga (C.) Dio Ngada Ngada
Sweet Mae Lunguru (R.), ludara (R.), ngiro Langano Ngiro Mae Mae
Tapu Songgo Tabu Tabo Tatabuna Tabu Tabu
Taro Tika Mareke, gobu Tika (R.), rika Ngolo Cipa Taka Toka
Taste Usa-pada Vasiva (W.), goki-pada Ge-pada Ziki-pada Oke-pada Oke-pada
Thick Tumatuma Totoba Tumatuma Tutuaba Loloba Totoma
Thin Laelae Zezeba Zezeba Ziziaba Zezeba Vevero
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  Kiposaka Tarikukuri Bambatana Varese Ririo Tambatamba Kirunggela
Tongue Kalamea Kalamia Lome Kalemea (C), kalamia Luame Loleme, luleme Lulema
Tooth Sangge Gupu Kekere Sanggi (C), sosongge-manana Kekere Kekere Kekere
Tree Moki Mokoc Gazu Moki (C.) Ve Azu Azu
Village Tare Komala Komala Kuamala Kumala Kumala
Wall Jaro Kunggu Kanggu Bere Kunggu Dudu
Water Besi, iramanggai Posoma Bisi (R.), bi Besi (C.) Bic Bi Bi
Weak Meju Memelaka Memelaka Mimialaka Mimilaka Miruru
Weep Vore Nggela Lae Nggiala Nggila Nggila
White Duduru Kakasa Sele Kakasa (C), sele Sieli Sele Sele
Wind Sokoro, ipu Seva Vuvusele Vuvusele Vuvusele Vovosele Seva
Wing Babalakuru Bolokiri Babalakuru (C.), balakuru Babalo-ore Babalokuru, bolokuru Babalokuru
Woman Pec Nggole, bose-nggole (R.) Nggole (C.) Ngguele Nggole Nggole
Yam Noba Sapu Noba Igama Zinggam Nuba Pule
Yellow Doru Duru Manggele (C.), naba Zozoro Duru Duru
1   S. H. Ray: A Comparative Study of the Melanesian Island Languages (Cambridge, at the University Press, 1926), pp. 567-584.
2   Richard Thurnwald: “Forschungen auf den Salomo-Inseln und dem Bismarck-Archipel mit Unterstützung der Baessler stiftung Herausgegeben im Auftrage der general Verwaltung der Königlichen Museen zu Berlin. Band 1. Lieder und Sagen aus Buin, nebst einem Anhang: Die Musik auf den Nord-Westlichen Salomo-Inseln, aus dem Phonogramm-Archiv des psychologischen Instituts der Universität, Berlin, von Erich M. von Hornbostel” (Berlin, Dietrich Reimer, Ernst Vohsen, 1912).
3   P. A. Lanyon-Orgill: Notes sur les Dialectes de Choiseul, aux Iles Salomons (1941, private printing limited to 50 copies).
4   P. A. Lanyon-Orgill: Etude sur les Langues de Choiseul et de Bougainville, Iles Salomons (Dundee, 1943, private printing limited to 50 copies) and compare “The Languages of the Bismack Archipelago” (Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 51, 1942) and A Study of the Leuangiua Language (London, Luzac and Co., due to appear very shortly, this is the first book to represent a Polynesian language in phonetic characters).
5   cf. Lanyon-Orgill, Etude sur les Langues de Choiseul (1943), p. 3: “On compte en général une vingtaine de dialectes employés par les indigènes de l'île de Choiseul”; and p. 7: “Les langues du Choiseul ont entre enx un caractère étroit de parenté, non seulembut pour les racines et pour les mots, mais aussi pour l'organisme basique de leur grammaire”.