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Te taetae ni Kiribati

The language of Kiribati

Grammar Handbook

 

Lesson 4

TRANSITIVE SENTENCE ORDER

object phrase

When the verb of a Kiribati sentence is transitive, that is, when there is a word (object) which receives the action of the verb, the object phrase immediately follows the verb:

E korea te reta teuaarei.
he write a letter that man
That man wrote a letter.

A na kabooi taiani kariki aomata.
they will buy some bread (the) people
The people will buy some bread.

prepositional phrase

As in intransitive sentences, when a prepositional phrase is included in a transitive sentence, it may come after the object, directly before the subject phrase. Although this position is somewhat optional, and you may hear the prepositional phrase at the end of the sentence, you will always be safe in using it in the position above:

E korea te reta nakoni buuna teuaarei.
he write a letter to his wife that man
That man wrote a letter to his wife.

A na kabooi taiani kariki man te titooa aomata.
they will buy some bread from the store people
The people will buy some bread from the store.

time adverb

When a time adverb is included in transitive sentences, its position is also flexible, but it may always be placed at the end of the sentence as in the intransitive cases:

E korea te reta teuaarei n te bong aei.
he write a letter that man today
That man is writing a letter today.

A na kabooi taiani kariki aomata ningaabong.
they will buy some bread people tomorrow
The people will buy some bread tomorrow.

combined phrases

These positions will hold when there are both prepositional phrases and time adverbs in the same sentence, as well as when the object phrase is replaced by a suffixed object pronoun. (see lesson 22 on object pronouns)

E koreia teuaarei n te bong aei.
he write it that man today
That man wrote it today.

A na kabooi man te titooa aomata.
they will buy some from the store the people
The people will buy some from the store.

E koreia nakon buuna teuaarei n te bong aei.
he write it to his wife that man today
That man is writing it to his wife today.

Once again, in actual speech, the position of these phrases is more flexible, and a great deal of variation may be encountered. At this point however it will be useful to master a single correct position, expanding the possibilities as you gain more experience.

Exercises

A. Put the following groups of words into correct Gilbertese sentences

 1.  korea teuaarei e te reta
write that man he a letter
 2.  kabooa kariki aomata a na
buy bread people they will
 3.  wareka te boki te aiine arei e
read the book the woman that she
 4.  e kana te mm'aane te ika
he eat the man the fish
 5.  nima te unimm'aane te biia e
drink the old man the beer he
 6.  te kaabenta e katea au auti
the carpenter he build my house
 7.  katanga te kitaa e neierei
play the guitar she that woman
 8.  te mataroa e kauka tamau
the door he open my father
 9.  noora te taamnei I
see the picture I
10.  kana ataeinimm'aane te ben a
eat boys the coconut they
11.  na te ika ngaira kuukana ti
will the fish us cook we
12.  orea ngkoe na te booro ko
hit you will the ball you
13.  nuutibeeba wareka ngai na N te
newspaper read me will I the
14.  korea arau e neierei
write my name she that woman
15.  anenea te teeinnaiine e anene te
sing the girl she song the
16.  kabooa aomata a te tioka
buy people they the sugar
17.  teuaarei kunea te boom e
man find the bomb he
18.  tutikeeti e kauka neierei te
suitcase she open that woman the
19.  te ukurere katanga e teuaarei
the ukulele play he that man
20.  noora I te taamnei n te titooa ngai
see I the picture in the store me

B. Reform the above sentences, omitting the explicit subject.

C. Add the prepositional phrases following each sentence in their proper position:

1.   mairoun tamana
from her father
+ e wareka ana reta Meere.
she read her letter Mary
2.   irarikin te titooa
beside the store
+ a takaakaro ataei akekei.
they play children those
3.   man te auti
from the house
+ ti nako ngaira.
we go us
4.   inanoni marawa
in the sea
+ a akawaa te onauti mm'aane.
they fish flying fish men
5.   iaon te oo
on the wall
+ ti koroi taamnei ngaira.
we take pictures us
6.   iaan te kie
under the mat
+ e karabaa te booro Bauro.
he hide the ball Paul
7.   imarenani Maiana ao Tarawa
between Maiana and Tarawa
+ e bwe te kaibuke.
he paddles the boat
8.   man te titooa
from the store
+ a kabooi kariki aomata.
they buy bread people
9.   nakoni buu
to my spouse
+ I korea au reta ngai.
I write my letter me
10.   imarenan au auti ma te titooa
between my house and the store
+ e mate te unimm'aane
he die the old man

D. Add an appropriate time adverb from the list to the sentences below in proper positions:

n te bong aei
today
ningaabong
tomorrow
n te ririki ae e nako
last year

 1.  A na nakon te m'aneaba aomata.
they will go to the maneaba people
 2.  A roko Meere ma Bauro mai Betio.
they come Mary and Paul from Betio
 3.  Ti noora te taamnei ngaira.
We see the picture us
 4.  N na korea te reta ngai.
I will write the letter me
 5.  E orea te booro Tim.
he hit the ball Jim
 6.  Ti kabooi taiani kariki ngaira man te titooa.
We buy some bread us from the store
 7.  E kana te ika teuaarei.
he eat the fish that man
 8.  Kam na uota te beeki ngkamii nakon te auti.
You will bring the pig you to the house
 9.  I noora te kaibuke ngai i marawa.
I see the ship me in the sea
10.  A nima te biia aiine.
they drink the beer women

Written Exercise

E. Rearrange the following sets of words into good Gilbertese sentences:

1. wareka reta ana Meere e
2. taiani kariki kabooi ti ngaira
3. te booro Tim karabaa e
4. ngai I te kaibuke noora
5. te kaibuke bue e
6. uota te am'arake na kam te auti nakon
7. biia nim a aiine
8. akawaa mm'aane te onauti a
9. taamnei noora ti ngaira te
10. te ika teuaarei e kana
 
Answers to written exercise


Kiribati page

© 1979, 2003 Stephen Trussel, ACTION / Peace Corps, The Experiment in International Living. The Experiment in International Living, Inc., prepared this handbook for the U. S. Government under ACTION Contract number 78-043-1037. The reproduction of any part of this handbook other than for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research, or other "fair use" is subject to the prior written permission of ACTION.