Oceanic Linguistics, vol. 44, no. 2 (2005)


307, Reference to Motion Events in Six Western Austronesian Languages: Toward a Semantic Typology
Shuanfan Huang and Michael Tanangkingsing

The language of motion events is a system used to specify the motion of objects through space with respect to other objects. Recent research has shown that languages differ in the relative saliency of manner or path they focus on in motion event descriptions. These can be thought of as different strategies dedicated to specifying the spatial relationship between objects in motion and the landmark object. We propose a four-way typology based on the narrative data from six western Austronesian languages. Evidence is presented that each of the languages examined typically has a preferred strategy for describing motion events and that each has a distinct narrative style. These six languages are shown to share the commonality of giving greater attention to path information in motion events. Path salience in the encoding of motion clauses appears to exhibit a strong diachronic stability, suggesting that Proto-Austronesian was probably also a path-salient language.

341, Iconicity as Evidenced in Saisiyat Linguistic Coding of Causative Events
Shuping Huang and Lily I-wen Su

Causatives have been subjected to intensive scrutiny by linguists in recent years. Cross-linguistic studies suggest that the formation of causatives reflects the real world perception of cause-result relations, though some studies contradict this finding. The aim of this study is to explore the underlying principles that determine the way an event is encoded linguistically in Saisiyat, a Formosan language. Following Croft’s model of idealized single events, we promote the study of causatives to the discourse level. The results show that the iconicity of language is reflected in the ordering of linguistic elements as well as their grammatical integrity.

357, Malayo-Sumbawan
Alexander Adelaar

Using phonological and lexical evidence, this paper seeks to demonstrate that Balinese, Sasak, and Sumbawa (which form an exclusive subgroup) are more closely related to Malay than they are to Javanese. It concludes—especially on the basis of phonological evidence—that the previously posited Malayo-Javanic subgroup should be replaced by a “Malayo-Sumbawan” subgroup that includes Malayic, Chamic, and the Balinese-Sasak-Sumbawa group in one branch, and Sundanese and Madurese in two other branches. Javanese is excluded from this subgroup.

389, The Apicolabial Shift in Nese
John Lynch

Nese is one of a dozen or so languages/dialects spoken in the south Santo–north Malakula area of Vanuatu that reflect original simple bilabials before nonround vowels as apicolabials. In some of these languages, the apicolabials subsequently became dentals/alveolars. Nese is unusual, however, in the inconsistency of its reflexes: the most frequent reflex of Proto-Oceanic *b in this environment is indeed the apicolabial stop b, but the most common reflex of *m is alveolar n, while with *p both apicolabial v and labiodental v occur with roughly equal frequency. This paper attempts to explain this variation, and also attempts to explain why *p behaved far less consistently across a range of languages in this area than did *b and *m.

404, Saisiyat as a Pitch Accent Language: Evidence from Acoustic Study of Words
Wen-yu Chiang and Fang-mei Chiang

This paper investigates the acoustic realization of lexical-level accent in Saisiyat, an endangered aboriginal language of Taiwan. Accent in Saisiyat usually falls on the ultimate syllable of content words. This phenomenon has been described in previous studies as either “stress” or “accent.” Our measurements and analysis of various prosodic parameters of syllable rhyme (Fo height at onset, offset, peak, and valley, as well as pitch range, duration, slope, peak alignment, and intensity peak) suggest that accent in Saisiyat should be classified as pitch accent, because lexical accent is realized by means of specific Fo patterns, rather than duration and intensity. Thus, among three typological categories that have been proposed for languages (lexical tone, lexical stress, and lexical pitch accent), we propose that Saisiyat belongs to the category that has lexical pitch accent.

427, Syntactic and Lexical Factors Conditioning the Diffusion of Sound Change
Mark Donohue

A sound change may propagate through a language in different ways. Different studies attest sound changes spreading at different rates through different phonological and/or phonotactic environments, diffusing through the speaker population (or through different dialects) in different ways, or simply spreading differentially through the lexicon. In Palu’e there is evidence for a sound change applying at different rates for different grammatical categories, with the sound change advancing in the small set of bound grammatical morphemes perhaps more completely than in free lexemes. This is evidence that syntactic information on parts of speech can affect the diffusion of a sound change through a language, and that bound forms are not necessarily more conservative than free lexemes when it comes to phonological change.

443, Unraveling the History of the Vowels of Seventeen Northern Vanuatu Languages
Alexandre François

Data collected on the 17 languages spoken in the Banks and Torres Islands (northern Vanuatu) reveal strikingly diverse vowel systems, differing both in the quality and the quantity of their phonemes. Except for Mota, which still perpetuates the five vowels of Proto-Oceanic, the languages of this area have historically increased their inventories to as many as 13 and even 16 vowels. The aim of this paper is to track the systematic correspondences between modern languages and their common ancestor, and to reconstruct the processes that led to the present-day phonemic diversity. The phonemicization of new vowels, including diphthongs and long vowels, is shown to result from stress-induced vowel reduction and metaphony. This general process of “vowel hybridization” yielded results that differed from one language to another, and sometimes within the same language. After describing and classifying the various patterns of sound changes attested, this paper shows how a proper understanding of vowel hybridization proves indispensable for the reconstruction of both the lexicon and the historical morphology of these northern Vanuatu languages.


505, Syntax of Verbal Nouns in Marquesan
Viktor Krupa

Verbal nominalization is a productive process in Marquesan and in other Polynesian languages. The markers are predominantly suffixal in nature. The transient character of the verbal nominalizations is underscored by their partial compatibility with both nominal and verbal particles. Their frequency of occurrence varies from text to text, as can be seen when the two main types of data used in this study are compared: folkloristic material, and a translation of St. John’s gospel. Attention is given to the syntactic functions of verbal nominalizations and to the ways in which their logical subjects are marked.

517, The Role of Phonological Predictability in Sound Change: Privileged Reduction in Oceanic Reduplicated Substrings
Juliette Blevins

Phonetic reduction is more likely when a word is predictable or recoverable independent of acoustic information. Attributing higher rates of phonetic reduction to lexical predictability has implications for subword domains. A range of historical developments in Oceanic support this position. In reduplication, where the content of the reduplicated substring is wholly predictable and recoverable from the base, the reduplicant undergoes leniting sound changes more readily than the base, and more readily than other prosodically comparable domains. Synchronic consequences of these developments challenge models associating reduplication with the emergence of unmarked structures.

527, Word Order in New Guinea: Dispelling a Myth
Mark Donohue

It has been claimed that the appearance of SVO order in a non-Austronesian language of New Guinea and its environs is evidence of contact and influence from Austronesian languages. I suggest that, because SVO is an innovative order in Austronesian languages as well, the influence might well be in the other direction, from a period before the popularization of SOV in New Guinea.

537, Liver and Lungs: A Semantic Dyad in Austronesian Languages
Robert Blust

A number of Austronesian languages reflect PAn *qaCay ‘liver’ either singly or in combination with a modifying word in the meaning ‘lungs’. A smaller set of languages reflects PAn *baRaq ‘lungs’ in the meaning ‘liver’. These terms are paired in the formal dyadic ritual language of Roti, and so raise the question whether the observed semantic crossover might be a historical residue of culturally determined semantic relationships in a similar ritual language that existed by at least Proto–Malayo-Polynesian times. However, because the interchange of meanings in reflexes of *qaCay and *baRaq is unparalleled by other examples of a similar type, this interpretation is rejected, and it is concluded that the crossover linking liver and lungs is a practical consequence of similarities based on shape as seen in the internal organs of butchered animals, particularly pigs.


544, John Lynch, Malcolm Ross, and Terry Crowley. 2002. The Oceanic languages
Reviewed by Robert Blust

559, Bethwyn Evans. 2003. A study of valency-changing devices in Proto Oceanic
Reviewed by Frantisek Lichtenberk


564, Index of Languages in Volume 44