The thesis presents a description of" the Dalat dialect of the
Melanau language which, amplified by reference to the other
known dialects, serves as representative of the language as a
whole. The description is given in six chapters and a short
CHAPTER 1: is introductory to the thesis, giving (with the aid
of sketch maps) a general picture of the Melanau way of life
and the geographical setting of their habitat, an outline of
their history, numerical distribution, social organisation and
customs. Previous work on the language is reviewed and the
methods of eliciting and processing the data on which the
analysis is based are described.
CHAPTER 2: treats on the Phonology of Melanau, reviewing such
previous attempts as there have been to write it down. A
Phonemic analysis is given to justify a practical orthography
for all the known dialects, which is used in the description.
CHAPTER 3: deals with the Morphology from the level of morpheme
itself to the formation of words. Four classes of words are
distinguished, Kominals, Verbals, Adverbials and the remainder
called Particles. Each class is described in separate detail;
particular attention is paid to the Verbs, in which separate
classes of bninflected verbs and tivo distinct classes of
Inflected verbs are described. These verbs are formed on stems
by quite different systems of affixation, referred to mnemonically
as the MNP and the UIE paradigms after their principal
CHAPTER 4: treats on Syntax in a Tagmemic framework, working
upwards through an ordered hierarchy from the Phrase level to
the Discourse. Nominal, Verbal and Adverbial Phrases are set
out as the main constituent tagmeme fillers for Clauses. Most
interesting are the range of Transitive Clauses in which either
the grammatical Subject, Object, Indirect Object or the Verb
may be brought into locus; the choice typifies that clause
construction. Sentences, Paragraphs and Discourse are
analysed to show their distinctive structures, and a text
fragment is set out at all levels in the description.
CHAPTER 5: is concerned with a description of Style, in which
Narrative, Didactic, Poetic and Conversational are shown to
have certain distinctive characteristics.
CHAPTER 6: goes at no great depth into three limited areas of
Semantic enquiry that were relevant to the Anthropological
studies for which the enquiry was commissioned.
(1) A glossary of symbols and abbreviations used in the text.
(2) Word lists from 11 of the 20 and more dialect samples
taken during the field-study phase, and comparative text
in five of them.