Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 39, no. 2 (2000)


Lexical Evidence for Early Contact between Indonesian Languages and Japanese, 219-255
Ann Kumar and Phil Rose

Forty-one pairs of words with CVCVC structure selected from Old Japanese and Old Javanese dictionaries are presented. It is claimed that these are the result of borrowing into an antecedent of Old Japanese from an Indonesian source. Semantic relationships are discussed, and sound correspondences are specified within a discussion of the segmental phonology and phonotactics of the two languages. The agreement in phonological form is shown to be extensive, applying in some cases to up to five segments in each word pair, and to also make sense, given the phonotactic restrictions of the recipient language. The semantic agreement is often also of comparably high specificity, showing moreover a further level of structure in its partial resolution into semantic fields, including some that resonate with nonlinguistic findings related to ritual and rice cultivation in the Yayoi period of early Japanese history. The amount of agreement in semantic and phonological form is shown statistically to be greater than chance. The argument is further strengthened by several additional independent levels of agreement in the data that are discussed within a Bayesian framework. The phonological correspondences map unidirectionally from Old Javanese to Old Japanese, and a search for cognates in all Austronesian languages covered by the major comparative dictionaries reveals that the lexical items are localized to the Indonesian subarea of Malayo-Polynesian. This points to one or more Indonesian languages as the source of the borrowings. The agreement between semantic and archaeological evidence on material and spiritual culture dates the contact to the Yayoi period. The semantic evidence further suggests that, contrary to the received view, important Yayoi innovations are likely to have been introduced into Japan from the south, and not from China or Korea as usually supposed.

Compound Case Markers in Australian Languages, 256-284
Fritz Schweiger

In several Australian languages, it is possible for nominals to carry more than one inflectional case marker. This can be due to adnominal multiple case marking where two or more cases are assigned to a nominal. This type has been known as “Suffixaufnahme.” The recent book Double Case (Plank 1995) gives a good survey of this topic (including data from Australian languages). A further possibility is derivational multiple case marking (“compound cases”). Here a case marker forms an oblique stem (“founding form”) that may attract further case markers. The use of a ligative (“case spacing”) can be seen as an interesting mixture of (adnominal) double case and compound case. This paper presents the results of a pilot study that includes several languages from the Pama-Nyungan and the Tangkic family.

Low-Vowel Fronting in Northern Sarawak, 285-319
Robert Blust

A number of the languages of northern Sarawak have fronted earlier *a under theoretically challenging conditions. In general, *a has been fronted following a voiced obstruent, subject to various qualifications that are noted in individual languages. This type of change bears a superficial resemblance to vowel raising following breathy voiced consonants in many of the Mon-Khmer languages of mainland Southeast Asia. However, caution should be observed in comparing the two situations because: (1) the evidence strongly suggests that although both fronting and raising are involved, raising is an incidental by-product of vowel fronting in the languages of northern Sarawak, (2) breathy voice is a prosody that spreads rightward until interrupted by certain consonants; in words of the form *CaCaC, however, fronting may skip the first low vowel and target the more distant one, (3) none of the languages in question has ever been reported as having breathy consonants. Finally, although all but one of the nine languages used to illustrate this phenomenon are members of a linguistic subgroup, “Berawan-Lower Baram,” differences of detail in the conditioning of vowel fronting suggest that the change was not present in their immediate common ancestor, but was acquired independently in some or all of the languages, a conclusion supported by the discovery of similar changes outside northern Sarawak.

South Efate Phonological History, 320-338
John Lynch

The South Efate language in central Vanuatu forms a transition between the phonologically more conservative languages to the north and the more “aberrant” languages to the south. Based on more data than were available to Clark (1985), a more detailed phonological history of South Efate is presented here. Particular attention is paid to a low-vowel dissimilation rule and to rules deleting final vowels and final consonants, which Lynch (to appear a) suggests are shared with the Southern Vanuatu languages and thus constitute evidence for subgrouping South Efate with Southern Vanuatu. I also add to the growing literature on instances of low-vowel dissimilation in Oceanic languages (Blust 1996a, b) without, however, bringing us any nearer to an integrated explanation of this phenomenon.

Pronouns and Gender: Exploring Nominal Classification Systems in Northern New Guinea, 339-349
Mark Donohue

This article is intended not as an overview of the range of nominal classification systems that can be found in the northern part of West Papua, but as a discussion of a typologically rare development of classification that is found in some languages of this quarter of New Guinea. This discursion is set in a brief discussion of some of the more typical systems that are found in geographically, and genetically, divergent languages of the region. The focus of the article is the presentation of data that shows the classification of the personal pronouns into different gender classes, and examines possible motivations for this unusual phenomenon.

From Verb to Coordinator in Tetun 350-363
Catharina van Klinken

The conservative Fehan dialect of Tetun, a Central Malayo-Polynesian language spoken on Timor, has two verbs that have developed into coordinators. As such, they have almost nonoverlapping spheres of operation, reflecting their very different grammaticalization paths. Among other things, hodi is a transitive verb meaning `bring, use’, a prepositional verb introducing instrument noun phrases, and a coordinator of clauses. It is postulated to have derived into a clausal coordinator via a purposive construction, in which the second clause presents the purpose for bringing an item mentioned in the first clause. The other verb, hoo, is a transitive verb meaning `accompany, be with (person)’ and a prepositional verb introducing coactors. The form no, which is argued to originate as a reduced third person singular form of hoo, is a coordinator that is primarily used for coordination of noun phrases. This function of noun-phrase coordinator is presumed to be an extension from its function of introducing coactors. A second set of related usages for hoo is as a transitive verb meaning `have’ and (in its third person singular form noo) as an existential verb.

Verb Classification in Mayrinax Atayal, 364-390
Lillian M. Huang

Verb classes are examined in Mayrinax Atayal, an Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan, based on certain semantic, morphological, and syntactic properties. Focus markers; negative, imperative, and causative constructions; the tense/aspect/mood system of the language; and a dimension of greater-lesser dynamicity (or stativity) are all investigated. The primary distinction between dynamic and stative verbs is supported by the different behaviors of verbs in the various constructions. Because degrees of dynamicity/stativity of Mayrinax verbs are relative rather than absolute, a continuum is proposed with dynamic verbs and stative verbs appearing at the two extremes.

Concerning ka-, an Overlooked Marker of Verbal Derivation in Formosan Languages, 391-414
Elizabeth Zeitoun and Lillian M. Huang

Blust (1999) shows that in Pazeh, a moribund Formosan language, causativized dynamic verbs are morphologically marked by pa-, while stative verbs are prefixed by paka-. He argues that this language provides “critical evidence” for distinguishing the two grammatically conditioned variants *pa- and *paka- in PAN. Blust’s reconstruction overshadows, however, a morphological pattern found across many Formosan languages. We demonstrate that (i) in many Formosan languages where the causative pa-/paka- alternation is found, paka- is better analyzed as a bimorphemic prefix, whereby pa- indicates causativity and ka- stativity, and that (ii) the reanalysis of *pa-ka- as paka- and/or the replacement of this form in stative verbs must have taken place at a later stage in the history of the Austronesian languages. This analysis accounts for the synchronic variation across the Austronesian languages, and the Formosan languages in particular, with respect to this matter.


Dynamic vs. Stative Verbs in Mantauran (Rukai) 415-427
Elizabeth Zeitoun

Data from Mantauran (Rukai) are presented to exemplify an intricate system of contrastive morphological marking of dynamic and stative verbs, and within both these classes, of finite and “nonfinite” (for want of a better term) verb forms. The latter are to be found when verbs are also marked as negative, causative, or irrealis, or when they appear in certain nominalizations, following certain conjunctions or adverbs, or in other specific constructions. Unlike other Formosan languages where parallel “nonfinite” forms are also used in the imperative, this language employs a separate subjunctive form.


Isabelle Bril. 2000. Dictionnaire nêlêmwa-nixumwak français-anglais (Nouvelle-Calédonie), 428-430
Reviewed by John Lynch

Mark Donohue. 1999. A Grammar of Tukang Besi, 430-435
Reviewed by René van den Berg

Graham Thurgood. 1999. From ancient Cham to modern dialects: Two thousand years of language contact and change, 435-445
Reviewed by Robert Blust

Elizabeth Zeitoun and Paul Jen-kuei Li, eds. 1999. Selected papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, 445-456
Reviewed by Malcolm D. Ross


Index to Volume 39 (2000), 457-463
The entries represent languages or groups (either linguistic or geographical) referred to in the text.