|Region||Lesser Sunda Islands|
The Dhao language, better known to outsiders by its Rotinese name Ndao (Ndaonese, Ndaundau), is the language of Ndao Island in Indonesia. Traditionally classified as a Sumba language in the Austronesian family, it may actually be a non-Austronesian (Papuan) language. (See Savu languages for details.) It was once considered a dialect of Hawu, but is not mutually intelligible.
Dhao phonology is similar to that of Hawu, but somewhat more complex in its consonants.
Consonants of the /n/ column are apical, those of the /ɲ/ column laminal. /f w j/ are found in Malay loan words. In the practical orthography, implosives are written ⟨b' d' j' g'⟩, the affricates ⟨bh dh⟩ (the dh is slightly retroflex), and the voiced glottal onset as a double vowel. The /ʕ/ is sometimes silent, but contrasts with a glottal stop onset in vowel-initial words within a phrase. Its phonemic status is not clear. It has an "extremely limited distribution", linking noun phrases (/ʔiki/ 'small', /ʔana ʕiki/ 'small child') and clauses (/ʕaa/ 'and', /ʕoo/ 'also').
Vowels are /i u e ə o a/, with /ə/ written ⟨è⟩. Phonetic long vowels and diphthongs are vowel sequences. The penultimate syllable/vowel is stressed. (Every vowel constitutes a syllable.)
/ŋe/ [ŋe] 'this.OBJ', /neʔe/ [ˈneʔe] 'this', /ŋaŋee/ [ŋaˈŋeː] 'thinking', /ŋali/ [ˈŋali] 'senile', /ŋəlu/ [ˈŋəlːu] 'wind'.
A stressed schwa lengthens the following consonant: /meda/ [ˈmeda] 'yesterday', /məda/ [ˈmədːa] 'night'.
Syllables are consonant-vowel or vowel-only.
f, q, v, w, x, y and z are only used in loanwords and foreign names.
When the clitics are used for objects, there are proximal forms in the third person, ne 'this one' and si 'these', the latter also for collective plurals. When used for subjects and the verb begins with a vowel, they drop their vowel with a few irregularities: keʔa meʔa neʔa teʔa ŋeʔa meʔa reʔa 'to know'. Many words that translate prepositions in English are verbs in Dhao, and inflect as such. Dhao also has a single 'intradirective' verb, laʔ 'to go', in which the clitics follow: laku lamu laʔa or laʔe lati (NA) lami lasi.
Demonstratives distinguish proximal (here, now, this), distal (there, then, that), and remote (yonder, yon).
|Proximal||neʔe, ne||seʔe, se|
Sample clauses (Grimes 2006). (Compare the Hawu equivalents at Hawu language#Grammar.)