Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 43, no. 1 (2004)


1, Reconstructing the Geocentric System of Proto-Oceanic
Alexandre François

A comparison of the absolute coordinates used in space reference by sixteen Austronesian languages makes it possible to propose a hypothesis regarding the geocentric system of Proto-Oceanic: on land, one up–down axis defined by the declivity of the ground; at sea, a second up–down axis motivated by the prevailing trade winds. After reconstructing the system of Proto-Oceanic, we model the principal paths of evolution that derived from it historically and led to the diverse systems attested in modern Oceanic languages.

32, NP Versus DP Reflexives: Evidence from Malagasy
Ileana Paul

This article examines the Malagasy anaphor tena ‘body’. It is shown that this anaphor is a bare noun (NP) and therefore has a highly restricted distribution. Tena is then contrasted with another anaphor-like element, ny tenany ‘her/his body’. It is argued that ny tenany is not an anaphor, per se, but a complex nominal (DP) with a possessive pronoun that need not be bound.

49, Givenness as a Ranking Criterion in Centering Theory: Evidence from Yappese
Keira Gebbie Ballantyne

Centering Theory ranks the discourse entities in a particular utterance based on the likelihood that they will persist as centers of attention. Early versions used grammatical relation as the criterion to rank discourse entities in English, with some success. One study found givenness to be a more efficient strategy in German. This study compares three possible strategies that listeners might be using to rank the salience of discourse entities in Yapese, an Oceanic language of Micronesia: grammatical relation, linear order, and degree of givenness. It is found that information status, or the degree of givenness of a particular discourse entity, is the most efficient ranking criterion in this language, one that is fairly rigid in word order and lacks case-manipulation techniques, so that speakers have limited ability to change the grammatical relation of a particular discourse entity.

73, Austronesian Nasal Substitution: A Survey
Robert Blust

Nasal substitution, which replaces a base-initial obstruent with the homorganic nasal under prefixation, is arguably the most prominent morphonological process seen in Austronesian languages, as it is an active part of the verbal morphology of most languages of the Philippines and western Indonesia, as well as Malagasy, Chamorro, and Palauan. Although a comparative overview of this process was provided by Otto Dempwolff in the 1930s, and has been elaborated in several later studies, the full range of cross-linguistic variation in the form of nasal substitution has not previously been fully appreciated. This paper seeks to document the rich variability of the process of nasal substitution across languages, and show that recent attempts to discover a motivation for nasal substitution within the framework of Optimality Theory are inadequate, and are likely to remain so in any currently conceivable version of the theory.

149, POc *ma- and the Adjectives: Oceanic as Seen through Possibly Productive Morphology in Tukang Besi
Mark Donohue

An article in volume 40 of this journal discusses the history of the suffix *ma- in Oceanic languages, and compares the functions found in these languages with those attested in some non-Oceanic Austronesian languages. The current article adds some refinements based on a careful consideration of data from Tukang Besi, and provides a basis for questioning the simple bipartite divisions employed in classifying morphology in the earlier article. It is shown how reference to some of the synchronically attested morphological processes in Tukang Besi can help to model the Oceanic data.

177, Reciprocals in Malagasy
Edward L. Keenan and Jean-Paulin Razafimamonjy

We analyze the highly productive reciprocal morphology in Malagasy (Madagascar) as a phrasal affix that combines with two place predicates (P2s), possibly complex, reducing valency by one. We argue for our analysis over one in which reciprocal morphology originates as an argument of the verb and incorporates into it.


208, The Mystery of Austronesian Final Consonant Loss
Juliette Blevins

Within Evolutionary Phonology, recurrent sound patterns are argued to be a direct consequence of recurrent types of phonetically based sound change. Common phonological alternations like final obstruent devoicing, place assimilation, intervocalic consonant lenition, and unstressed vowel deletion are shown to be the direct result of phonologization of well-documented articulatory and perceptual phonetic effects. Synchronic markedness constraints of structuralist, generativist, and optimality approaches are abandoned, and replaced, for the most part, with historical phonetic explanations that are independently necessary. Under the general Evolutionary Phonology approach, any recurrent sound pattern, like Austronesian final consonant loss, that does not lend itself to phonetic explanation is problematic.

214, Bilabial Reflexes of Proto-Oceanic *q in Southern Vanuatu Languages
John Lynch

Following on an earlier description of sporadic reflexes of Proto-Oceanic *q in Malakula, another set of sporadic reflexes of the same protophoneme is discussed. In Southern Vanuatu languages, *q sporadically merges with the reflexes of *p that occur adjacent to *u. Because the Proto–Southern Vanuatu reflex of *p in that environment may have been phonetically a labialized velar stop, this adds support to the view that *q was uvular; it may have also had a labialized reflex in the same environment, which would help to explain this partial merger. Some comparison is also made between different loss and retention patterns as they relate to the two Proto-Oceanic uvular phonemes, *q and *R.

221, Typology and Linguistic Areas
Mark Donohue

A closer look shows that rather than constituting a linguistic area on its own, the region between Lombok and Papua is simply part of a typological continuum that runs from the northern Austronesian languages in Taiwan and the Philippines through Malaysia and western Indonesia east toward Melanesia, without any linguistically definable borders on either side.

240, East Nusantara: Genetic, Areal, and Typological Approaches
Marian Klamer

Three approaches to language comparison are distinguished. An areal approach leads to the conclusion that East Nusantara and the Bird’s Head constitute a linguistic area.


245, In Memoriam, Eugenius M. Uhlenbeck, 1913–2003
Mark Janse

Eugenius Marius Uhlenbeck, Bob as he was affectionately known to his friends, died at home on May 27, 2003, two months before his 90th birthday. He was a distinguished scholar, an indefatigable organizer and academic initiator, a gifted and inspiring teacher, a loyal friend and, despite his many activities, a family man with a sense of tradition handed down to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Professor of Javanese Language and Literature (1950–83) and in addition also Professor of General Linguistics (1958–79) at Leiden University, Bob was a pivotal figure in both fields, bestowed with numerous honors and awards, both nationally and internationally. In the Netherlands he was member and subsequently vice president of the Dutch Council for Science Policy (1967–76); member of the advisory board of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (1967–82), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (from 1967), and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (from 1970); and honorary member of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (from 1983), after having been a member of its board and subsequently president (1950–65). In 1969 he received a knighthood in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. In 1983 the Netherlands Institute for Avanced Studies inaugurated an annual series of Uhlenbeck lectures to honor its founding president (1970–83), the first being Bob’s statement on the autonomy of linguistics (Uhlenbeck 1983b). Under his editorship (1950–84), Lingua became one of the leading journals in the field of general linguistics. International acclaim soon followed. After having been visiting professor at the Linguistic Institute in Bloomington, Indiana (1953), and at the University of California at San Diego (1965), associate editor of the International Journal of American Linguistics (from 1959), and research fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California (1965–66), Bob was elected honorary member of the Linguistic Society of America (1972). He received honoris causa doctorates from the Catholic University of Louvain (1975) and Charles University in Prague (1991), where he was also elected honorary member of the Prague Linguistic Circle (1991) and the Association of Alumni and Friends of Charles University (1993). After having been president of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (1972), he was elected member of the Academia Europaea (1991). In 1994 a corresponding fellowship of the British Academy was conferred upon him. Pacific acclaim materialized in the form of a professorial fellowship at the Australian National University (1973), followed by a research fellowship at the same university (1985). In 1991 he was invited to give the opening keynote address at the 6th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics in Honolulu, Hawai‘i; it was published the year after as the lead article of Oceanic Linguistics (Uhlenbeck 1992a), the journal that claimed him as a member of its Editorial Advisory Board from its inception in 1962. Last but definitely not least, Bob was elected secretary general of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists at the 12th International Congress of Linguists in Vienna (1977) and would remain in office until the 15th in Quebec (1992).


258, Giovanni Bennardo, ed. 2002. Representing space in Oceania: Culture in language and mind.
reviewed by Frantisek Lichtenberk

264, Terry Crowley. 2002. Serial Verbs in Oceanic: A Descriptive Typology.
reviewed by Joel Bradshaw

269, Alexandre François. 2002. Araki: A Disappearing Language of Vanuatu.
reviewed by Terry Crowley

273, Natalia F. Alieva and Bùi Khánh The. 1999. Jazyk cam. Ustnyje govora vostocnogo dialekta [The Cham language: Oral lects of the Eastern dialect].
reviewed by Anthony P. Grant