Sahu
Native toIndonesia
RegionHalmahera
Native speakers
(7500 cited 1987)
Dialects
  • Waioli
  • Pa'disua
  • Gamkonora
  • Tala'i
  • Ibu †
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
saj – Sahu
ibu – Ibu
Glottologsahu1245  Sahu
ibuu1240  Ibu
ELPIbu

Sahu (Sa’u, Sahu’u, Sau) is a North Halmahera language. Use is vigorous; dialects are Pa’disua (Palisua), Tala’i, Waioli, and Gamkonora. A fifth dialect, Ibu, used to be spoken near the mouth of the Ibu River.[1]

Sahu has many Ternate loanwords, a historical legacy of the dominance of the Ternate Sultanate in the Moluccas.[2]

Phonology

Sahu, like other North Halmahera languages, is not a tonal language.

Consonants

Sahu consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive/Affricate voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ
Fricative voiceless f s
Approximant central w j h
lateral l
Trill r

When preceding /a/, /o/, and /u/, the consonants /d/, /ɗ/, and /l/ become retroflex (/ɖ/, /ᶑ/, and /ɭ/, respectively). The trill /r/ alternates freely with /ɾ/, but, according to Visser and Voorhoeve, /r/ is the more usual allophone. The glottal /h/ may be realized as the unvoiced uvular fricative /χ/ by educated speakers for certain words deriving from Arabic.

Vowels

Sahu vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a

The phoneme /ə/ is only found in loans (primarily from Indonesian).

References

  1. ^ Visser, L. E. and C.L. Voorhoeve. 1987. Sahu-Indonesian-English Dictionary and Sahu Grammar Sketch. Dordrecht: Foris.
  2. ^ Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian (2018). "The Papuan languages of East Nusantara and the Bird's Head". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 569–640. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
  3. ^ Visser, L. E. and C.L. Voorhoeve. 1987. Sahu-Indonesian-English Dictionary and Sahu Grammar Sketch. Dordrecht: Foris.