Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 42, no. 1 (2003)


1, Proto-Micronesian Reconstructions
Byron W. Bender, Ward H. Goodenough, Frederick H. Jackson, Jeffrey C. Marck, Kenneth L. Rehg, Ho-min Sohn, Stephen Trussel, and Judith W. Wang

Part 1 presents some 980 reconstructions for Proto-Micronesian, Proto–Central Micronesian, and Proto–Western Micronesian. Part 2 (to appear in volume 42:2) gives reconstructions for two additional subgroups within Proto-Micronesian: Proto-Pohnpeic and Proto-Chuukic, and their immediate ancestor, Proto–Pohnpeic-Chuukic. A handful of putative loans are also identified, and a single English finder list is provided for all of the reconstructions.

111, Morphological Templates, Headedness, and Applicatives in Barupu
Mark Donohue

The applicative construction in Barupu (Macro-Skou family from northern New Guinea) performs all the functions expected of an applicative: it is a valency increasing construction that adds an object to a verb, similar to the relationship between the intransitive ‘be afraid’ and the transitive ‘fear’ in English. The applicative object behaves the same as the base object of a transitive verb with similar semantics, including the ability to appear indexed on the verb. Some of the applicatives are well behaved, and do not present a challenge to existing models, while another set of applicatives are more complex morphologically, and more problematic. In these constructions the entire applicative complex displays two features that are not expected: (1) the applicative morpheme, and the agreement for the applied object, appears outside all inflectional agreement for the arguments of the base verb; and (2) the applicative morpheme shows agreement not just for the object but also for the subject, in addition to the agreement for subject found on the main verb root. These applicatives thus display several serial-verb–like properties, but fail to meet the criteria used to test for serial verbs, both cross-linguistically and within Barupu. I examine the phonological, morphological, and syntactic patterns associated with these “applicatives,” and show that there is a phonotactic constraint in the language that motivates this apparent mismatch of properties, and a plausible pathway for the development of at least some of these morphemes. Nonetheless we must recognize that synchronically the language allows for multiply headed verbs, without evidence of synchronic incorporation processes.

144, Transitivity and Objecthood in Rotuman
Madelyn J. Kissock

This paper examines one particular aspect of Rotuman morphology that Churchward has characterized as a “transitive suffix.” Verbs with this suffix show behavior distinct from that of unsuffixed transitive verbs with respect to a number of phenomena, including object definiteness, causativity, and negation, among others. Our conclusion is that the transitivity of verbs with this suffix is somewhat incidental and that the true nature of the suffix is something akin to object agreement for topicalized objects. In the end, we see that although Churchward’s label for this suffix may be somewhat misplaced, his careful distinction between two types of transitive verbs, unsuffixed and suffixed, was an important one.

161, A New View of the Proto-Oceanic Pronominal System
Ritsuko Kikusawa

Proto-Oceanic had two distinct sets of clitic pronouns, with members of one set expressing the S (“subject” of intransitive sentences), while the members of the other set expressed the A (“agent” of transitive sentences). Clitic pronouns expressing O (“object”) observed in some Oceanic languages today are later innovations, rather than reflexes of Proto-Oceanic “object” clitic forms. The main evidence comes from a comparison of what is reconstructible for Proto–Extra Formosan, a parent language of Proto-Oceanic, and Proto-Polynesian, one of the daughter protolanguages of Proto-Oceanic.

187, The Phonestheme n- in Austronesian Languages
Robert Blust

Many Austronesian languages show a far greater than chance correlation between morphemes that begin with a velar nasal and the general semantic domain ‘mouth/nose’. Morphemes in this category may be either nouns (‘saliva’, ‘snot’, ‘chin’, ‘beard’, ‘lip’) or verbs (‘gape’, ‘gnaw’ ‘grin, show the teeth’, ‘gnash the teeth’, ‘pant’). Widely distributed cognate sets show that some of these forms were found in Proto-Austronesian or other early Austronesian protolanguages. However, the great majority of n- initial forms that refer to the oral/nasal area appear to be peculiar to a single attested language or lowlevel subgroup, and suggest that this sound-meaning correlation continued to be productive through some six millennia of linguistic history. The problem of historical transmission that the phonestheme n- raises is a general one encountered wherever submorphemes are widely shared in noncognate forms. However this problem is ultimately solved, the fact of historical transmission shows that the phonestheme is a psychologically real unit of linguistic structure that can persist through hundreds of generations of speakers.


213, The Laryngeal Gesture in Austronesian Languages: A Terminological Quibble
Mark Donohue

Hajek and Bowden (Oceanic Linguistics 41:222–224) report on the unusual ejective series in Waimoa, an Austronesian language of East Timor. I argue that, while phonetically odd, it is not a phonological oddity to find ejectives in an Austronesian language, especially not one in the Timor region. A possible historical pathway for the genesis of the ejectives is proposed, and some questions are raised about the acoustic nature of ejectives and about their phonological representation.

218, The Formosan Language Archive: Development of a Multimedia Tool to Salvage the Languages and Oral Traditions of the Indigenous Tribes of Taiwan
Elizabeth Zeitoun, Ching-hua Yu, and Cui-xia Weng

We introduce the newly developed Formosan Language Archive and show how it has been built up through examples drawn from Rukai, a Formosan language spoken across southern Taiwan and including six main dialects (Mantauran, Maga, Tona, Budai, Labuan, and Tanan) that exhibit great variation. After displaying the layout of the archive, we explain how texts and sound files are recorded and digitalized, how words are tagged, and what the purpose of the search system is. Last, we compare the Formosan language archive to other well-established language archives and show how and why we have adopted a layout that is somewhat different but enables us to capture, through linguistic analysis, the variations displayed in the Rukai dialects (and in Formosan languages in general).

233, More Reflexes of Proto-Oceanic *q in Vanuatu Languages
John Lynch and Terry Crowley

Although it has generally been assumed that Namakir is the only Vanuatu language that has a phonemic reflex of Proto-Oceanic *q, recent data collected from a number of languages in north-central Malakula show that *q is also reflected there, though it is lost in quite a number of words. Of interest is the fact that, in noninitial position, *q merges with *k, usually as x; but in initial position, *q is reflected as i, probably via intermediate y. We argue that these cases of initial i are not prothetic but constitute “real” reflexes of *q, and we attempt to explain the phonetics of the *q > i change. In doing so, we suggest that these data provide further evidence that *q was probably a uvular and not a glottal stop.

239, A Note on Monosyllabic Roots in Kavalan
Robert Blust

The phenomenon of submorphemic sound-meaning association with a terminal -CVC is widely attested in the Austronesian languages of the Philippines and Indonesia (including Malagasy), but is absent in Oceanic languages, and until now has been attested only weakly in the Formosan languages. Evidence is presented that *-pit ‘press, squeeze together; narrow’, the most richly attested “root” in Malayo-Polynesian languages, is also well attested in Kavalan, one of the more endangered and underdescribed aboriginal languages of Taiwan.


244, Ger P. Reesink. 1999. A grammar of Hatam, Bird’s Head Peninsula, Irian Jaya.
reviewed by Mark Donohue

252, Jane Simpson, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin, and Barry Alpher. 2001. Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages.
reviewed by Patrick McConvell

259, Juliette Blevins. 2001. Nhanda: An aboriginal language of Western Australia.
reviewed by Mary Laughren

267, Gilbert Lazard and Louise Peltzer. 2000. Structure de la Langue Tahitienne.
reviewed by Darrell Tryon


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