Salalet (pronounced /sə'leɪlɨt/), known natively as Slatlaɬut (pronounced /sˡatˡaɬʊt̚/) is a language spoken by the Salalet people on the Ermat Islands, an isolated archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
| Name: Salalet
Head Direction: Final
Number of genders: 2 (animate and inanimate)
|Flaps / taps|
|Front||Near front||Central||Near back||Back|
The Salalet language contains two "genders" - animate and inanimate. Most living nouns fall into the animate category (including trees and water) and most non-living nouns fall into the inanimate category. Verbs and adjectives must agree with their head nouns/agents in animacy. Compare:
Sak-sam t<a>eehol klơɬany
3SG.AN-fall <AN>tall man-(ABS)
/saksam tae̞ːhɤ̞l kˡəɬaɲ/
"The tall man falls"
Sik-sam teehol ơt'shlơp'
3SG.INAN-fall tall-(INAN) tree-(ABS)
sɪksam te̞ːhɤ̞l ət̚ʃləp̚
"The tall tree falls"
In the above examples, we see that the verb marker for absolutive 3rd person changes for animate or inanimate gender (sak vs. sik). Teehol (tall) must also take an infixed "a" in the first example to agree with its noun in the animate gender.
There are two numbers in Salalet: paucal and plural. 1, 2, and 3 are all paucal, while 4 and up are plural; essentially, one would say, "one man, two man, three man, four men, five men," etc. Nouns are normally pluralized by lengthening their first vowel; adjectives, however, do not agree with their noun in number. Pluralization:
- klơɬany (man); klơơɬany (men)
- ơt'shlơp' (tree); ơơt'shlơp' (trees)
- kun (boy); kuun (boys)
Some nouns, however, may already have a long first vowel in their paucal form; therefore, a different pluralization method is used. If the first long vowel of any of these nouns is unrounded and has a rounded equivalent in the phonology of Salalet, the vowel will be rounded and shortened. If this method does not apply to the noun, it will take the prefix li-, which indicates pluralization. This prefix is also used to pluralize proper names and loanwords, along with some pronouns.