Tayo

Tayo is a French-based creole spoken by around 3000 people in and around Saint-Louis in Southern New Caledonia, a Pacific Island politically linked to France as a collectivité française d'Outre-mer. It is one of the oldest and probably the best known example of a whole range of contact varieties that emerged between French and other languages of Melanesian, Polynesian, Asian or Indo-European origin throughout New Caledonia. It is spoken by less than 1% of the inhabitants of the country, but it is understood by the majority of the autochthons, through mechanisms of inter-comprehension between Tayo and the local varieties of New Caledonian French. Our description of the linguistic system stems mainly from the 1980s and 1990s. The data collection was conducted over a period of several years by Sabine Ehrhart, with the help of three generations of a family situated holding a core position within the Saint-Louis tribe (children, parents and grand-parents). However, the majority of the features presented in Ehrhart’s publications and also in the default lect for APiCS stem from the older generation, with Vianney Wamytan being the main informant. Examples come from the publications indicated and for some of them from Sabine Ehrhart herself who after ten years of almost daily contact with the people from Saint-Louis has obtained sufficient knowledge of the grammar in order to be able to give this kind of information. However, her lect has stayed traditional as she left the place in 1999 and during her visits in 2003 and 2006, she noticed that there had been developments and structural changes. The innovative features of the speech used by the younger generations are not represented here as we have taken the decision not to mix the data and to present a homogeneous corpus from the temporal point of view.

No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

mbprenasalized voiced bilabial plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ⁿdprenasalized voiced dental/alveolar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ŋgprenasalized voiced velar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
ⁿd͡ʒprenasalized voiced palato-alveolar sibilant affricate - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source