Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 53, no. 2 (2014)


Complex Noun Phrases and Formal Licensing in Isbukun Bunun
Hsiao-hung Iris Wu, 207

This paper investigates the syntactic status of nominal modifiers in Isbukun Bunun, an Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan. In Isbukun Bunun, nominal modifiers such as possessors, adjectives, demonstratives, and relative clauses precede the head noun they modify, and they may or must be linked to the head noun by an associative marker tu. Based on the observed NP-ellipsis facts and the formal licensing condition, I argue that the associative marker tu is a complementizer, and the structure it introduces should be accommodated under the adjunction analysis, whereas various existing alternative complementation approaches that view tu as a head selecting the modified phrase as its complement fail to capture the noted properties regarding ellipsis.
Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 53, no. 2 (2014)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 52, no. 2 (2013)


On the Analysis of Tone in Mee (Ekari, Ekaugi, Kapauku)
Larry M. Hyman and Niko Kobepa, 307

In this paper we present the tonal properties of Mee, a Wissel Lakes Papuan language known also as Ekari, Ekagi, and Kapauku. Since the previous accounts in the literature have been highly inadequate, allowing contradictory claims of tone, pitch-accent, and/or stress, we document the word-prosodic system and show that it is quite simple: Mee words can have a pitch drop from H to L either after the first mora or the second mora of the word. Corresponding to this simplicity, however, is a wide range of compatible interpretations. We consider how several analyses fare with respect to noun tone patterns, as well as verb tones, which are partly determined by the verb root, partly by inflectional features. From a typological perspective, the Mee system falls into the same category as Tokyo Japanese, Somali, Western Basque, and Mayo, which have also been subject to differing interpretations.
Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 52, no. 2 (2013)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 52, no. 1 (2013)


The Encoding of Manner Predications and Resultatives in Oceanic: A Typological and Historical Overview
Annemarie Verkerk, Benedicte Haraldstad Frostad, 1

This paper is concerned with the encoding of resultatives and manner predications in Oceanic languages. Our point of departure is a typological overview of the encoding strategies and their geographical distribution, and we investigate their historical traits by the use of phylogenetic comparative methods. A full theory of the historical pathways is not always accessible for all the attested encoding strategies, given the data available for this study. However, tentative theories about the development and origin of the attested strategies are given. One of the most frequent strategy types used to encode both manner predications and resultatives has been given special emphasis. This is a construction in which a reflex form of the Proto-Oceanic causative *pa-/*paka- modifies the second verb in serial verb constructions.

Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 52, no. 1 (2013)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 51, no. 2 (2012)


Whence the East Polynesians? Further Linguistic Evidence for a Northern Outlier Source
William H. Wilson, 289

Anthropologists and linguists have long assumed that East Polynesia was first settled from Central Western Polynesia, most likely from Samoa. Presented here is a very different history, one involving a northern settlement pathway from atolls off the east coast of the Solomon Islands some 2,000 miles (3,200 km) northwest of Samoa. Evidence includes 73 lexical and grammatical innovations reconstructible in the development of several nested Northern Outlier subgroups. East Polynesian is shown to share all of those innovations and thus subgroup with the Northern Outliers. The 73 reconstructions also provide evidence against an “Ellicean” subgroup and associated theories that East Polynesia was settled from Tuvalu, Tokelau, and/or Pukapuka. (See news reports in the Hawaii Tribune Herald, the New Zealand Herald, and on the blog Raising Islands.)
Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 51, no. 2 (2012)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 51, no. 1 (2012)


Investigating Motion Events in Austronesian Languages
D. Victoria Rau, Chun-Chieh Wang, and Hui-Huan Ann Chang, 1

S. Huang and M. Tanangkingsing found that six Western Austronesian languages share the common property of giving greater attention to path information than to manner. They proposed that Proto-Austronesian was probably path-salient. In order to ascertain the validity of their hypothesis, this study compares the motion events in a Yami Frog story with six Western Austronesian languages, followed by a research design using VARBRUL (a logistic regression analysis program) to analyze the factors that account for the variation between path and manner verbs in 20 Yami texts. Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 51, no. 1 (2012)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 50, no. 1 (2011)


On the Position of Bugotu and Gela in the Guadalcanal-Nggelic Subgroup of Oceanic
Andrew Pawley, 1

Guadalcanal-Nggelic (GN) is one of two branches of the Southeast Solomonic subgroup of Oceanic. Citing phonological and lexicostatistical evidence, several scholars have proposed an internal classification of GN in which Bugotu is an isolate, coordinate with a branch consisting of all remaining languages including Gela. This paper will argue that there are stronger grounds for an earlier and contrary hypothesis of mine that Bugotu and Gela form a closed, second-order subgroup of GN, here labeled Nggelic. Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 50, no. 1 (2011)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 49, no. 2 (2010)


Southern Subanen Aspiration
Jason William Lobel and William C. Hall, 319

Southern Subanen, spoken on the Philippine island of Mindanao, is the only Philippine language known to have contrastive aspiration, which is a rarity in the Austronesian family. While aspirated consonants are common in the world’s languages, Southern Subanen provides us with an uncommon glimpse at how aspirated consonants can develop. Their unique historical derivation in Southern Subanen is such that, in certain environments, aspiration marks semantic contrasts in verbal prefixes and even functions as a marker of nominalization. In this paper, we will analyze the historical sources of this aspiration and its realization in the modern language.

Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 49, no. 2 (2010)”

Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 48, no. 2 (2009)


Palauan Historical Phonology: Whence the Intrusive Velar Nasal?
Robert Blust, 307

One of the more striking features in the historical phonology of Palauan is the addition of a velar nasal before word-initial vowels. Because final vowels were unstressed, and almost always disappeared, it is difficult to determine whether a velar nasal would also have been added after final vowels had they been retained. However, a number of loanwords, mostly from Spanish and English, show the addition of a velar nasal after word-final vowels. The change in native vocabulary is exceptionless, while that in loanwords is irregular. Moreover, the two changes appear to be historically disconnected, yet they suggest a common canonical target that persisted over many generations of speakers.

Continue reading “Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 48, no. 2 (2009)”