Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 42, no. 2 (2003)


271, Proto-Micronesian Reconstructions—2
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 (in volume 42 [1]) presents some 980 reconstructions for Proto-Micronesian, Proto–Central Micronesian, and Proto–Western Micronesian. Part 2 in this issue gives reconstructions for two additional subgroups within Proto-Micronesian: Proto-Pohnpeic (PPon) and Proto-Chuukic PCk), and for the larger group that they comprise, Proto–Pohnpeic-Chuukic (PPC). A few putative loans are also identified, and a finder list for all reconstructions is provided.

359, Low Vowel Dissimilation in Vanuatu Languages
John Lynch

Robert Blust in this journal in 1996 drew attention to a process in a number of widely separated Oceanic languages in which the first a of an aCa sequence dissimilates to a higher vowel. In some of these languages the rule is still productive, while others show only historical dissimilation. He briefly presented data from three areas in Vanuatu comprising ten languages. More recent research, however, shows that there are about thirty Vanuatu languages that exhibit this phenomenon, though only four seem to do so as part of their synchronic morphophonemics. While an initial analysis suggests that there are four different types of dissimilatory processes, three of these (accounting for all but three or four of the thirty languages) can be shown to be derivable from a single historical process in which dissimilation applied iteratively from left to right: *a, whether stressed or unstressed, developed the allophone [ə] as a result of this, though dissimilation was apparently blocked by intervening or adjacent postvelars, velars, and labiovelars. In languages that reflect the dissimilation, this [ə] is now phonemic /ə/, /e/, or less frequently /i/. (The fourth type is dependent on stress, but is almost certainly a more recent development in just one small geographical area.) I propose that dissimilation occurred in the ancestor of all languages from Malakula and Ambrym in the north to Aneityum in the south, and that the nondissimilating languages within this region have subsequently reversed the process, allophonic [ə] becoming [a]. A brief comparison is made with similar cases in Micronesia, but it seems impossible, on the basis of data available, to suggest any historical connection between the two regions.

407, Of Men, Hills, and Winds: Space Directionals in Mwotlap
Alexandre François

In Mwotlap, an Oceanic language of Vanuatu, the principal device for referring to space is a paradigm of six directionals. Organized in pairs, these morphemes define three ways to draw a vector in space: by reference to a salient participant (hither-thither); by reference to an asymmetry perceptible within the immediate, local setting (up-down; in-out); or by reference to a fixed, absolute system of four horizontal quadrants (also lexified as up-down; in-out). These three “coordinate sets” can be shown to obey a strict hierarchy, determining which one the speaker should activate in a given situation. After providing an overview of this directional system, this paper investigates in more detail the mechanics of geocentric reference in Mwotlap, whereby a land/sea axis (inout) is crossed by a second axis, running from [south]east (up) to [north]west (down). In order to account for this use of the vertical directionals up–down on the horizontal plane, a semantic hypothesis is proposed that is related to the seafaring history of Mwotlap’s population.

438, Three Notes on Early Austronesian Morphology
Robert Blust

This paper attempts to answer three questions having to do with early Austronesian morphology: (1) what were the several functions of prefixes of the shape *ka-, (2) what were the functions of a prefix of this shape when it cooccurred with the suffix *-an (sometimes referred to as the circumfix *ka-an), and (3) what prefixes derived verbs with a ‘causative’ function?

479, Agreement in the Skou Language: A Historical Account
Mark Donohue

Skou, a language of the central north coast of New Guinea, presents a rare example of multiple exponence of features in the agreement paradigms for subject. While this is a challenge for theories of morphology, because each morphological realization presents exactly the same featural information in Skou, there is a simple historical explanation for the modern complexities, involving cycles of cliticization. After the initial impetus toward developing an agreement system, the subsequent cycles were probably inspired by the progressive loss of differentiation in the inflected verb form due to sound changes in the language that simplified clusters and collapsed contrasts. This account allows us to understand many of the irregularities in Skou agreement.


499, A Note on Reduplication in Bugotu and Cheke Holo
Juliette Blevins

Patterns of reduplication in two languages of the Solomon Islands raise important questions concerning the validity of certain cross-linguistic generalizations of modern theories of phonology.

506, Typology and Language Families: A Comment on Klamer’s “Typical Features of Austronesian Languages in Central/Eastern Indonesia”
Malcolm Ross

In the article mentioned in the title, Klamer appears to say that typological features may be used to help determine whether a particular language is Austronesian or Papuan. I argue here that this is not so, as typological features are often shared as a result of language contact. Genealogical relatedness is demonstrated by the presence of what Johanna Nichols has called “individual-identifying features.”

511, Rejoinder to Malcolm Ross’s Squib
Marian Klamer

Typological features may be used in an impressionistic bottom-up approach to characterizing and formulating hypotheses on the genetic affiliation of an unknown language in a contact zone—while leaving the proof/disproof of genetic classification and reconstruction to other, generally accepted types of evidence, such as basic cognate sets and cognate paradigms.


514, In Memoriam, Donald M. Topping, 1929–2003
Byron W. Bender and Priscilla Topping

Donald Medley Topping died peacefully at home, surrounded by a few family members and friends, on Sunday, June 29, 2003, thereby ending a sixteen-year bout with cancer. The field of Austronesian Linguistics is indebted to him for his pioneering dictionary and grammar of the Chamorro language, for recognizing early on the threat of language endangerment, and for mounting a campaign that attempted to forestall its onslaught in Micronesia. The University of Hawai‘i (UH) benefited from his innovative work in the language training of Peace Corps volunteers, and from the programs he later established for the training of Micronesian teachers. In carrying out the latter, he was an entrepreneur who found support for basic linguistic research that produced orthographies, dictionaries, grammars, and other school materials. Our knowledge of the languages of the area has been greatly increased thereby. The heightened activity of research, writing, and training that resulted, involving primarily the languages and schools of Micronesia, extended over the better part of three decades, and its effect is still being felt—although Don was to conclude eventually, as we shall see, that even this effort fell short of its goal of ensuring language maintenance.

522, Saviors of Languages: Who Will Be the Real Messiah?
Donald M. Topping

This paper was presented by the author at the Seventh International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (7ICAL) at Leiden in 1994, at a plenary session on endangered languages, the last session of the conference, held on a Saturday morning after some of the conference participants had already departed—probably responsible for the petulance that comes through in its preamble. Nevertheless, those who stayed for the session (which included an open discussion chaired by Hein Steinhauer) found it most valuable, even inspiring. The paper is published here posthumously and is referred to in the article written in memory of its author on pages 514–521.


528, Lorrin Andrews. 2003. A Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language.
reviewed by Emily Hawkins

531, Paul Jen-kuei Li and Shigeru Tsuchida. 2001. Pazih dictionary.
reviewed by Robert Blust

541, Geoff P. Smith. 2003. Growing up with Tok Pisin: Contact, creolization, and change in Papua New Guinea’s national language.
reviewed by Miriam Meyerhoff

546, Elizabeth Zeitoun, ed. 2002. Nominalization in Formosan Languages.
reviewed by Lawrence A. Reid

554, Joel Bradshaw and Kenneth L. Rehg, ed. 2001. Issues in Austronesian Morphology: A focusschrift for Byron W. Bender.
reviewed by J. P. Blevins


559, Index of Languages in Volume 42


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