Published December 15, 2018
This video was recorded in the province of North Sumatra, Indonesia and features Nias speaker Anugrah No'inõtõ Gõri. Nias, also called Li Niha by its native speakers, was spoken by about 770,000 people as of a 2000 census. A language of the Northwest Sumatra-Barrier Islands, Nias belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. It is typically divided into three recognized dialects: Northern, South, and Central. Nias makes use of consonant mutation (the changing word-initial consonants) to mark some cases, as opposed to other methods such as suffixation. An initial 'n' or 'g' before a vowel becomes semantically distinct, such as that between "nöri" ('village federation') and "göri" ('bracelet'). Nias is similar to languages like Basque, Gorgian, Mayan, and Tibetan in that it follows ergative-absolutive alignment, contrasting with languages like English that take nominative-accusative alignment.