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.

Savosavo Kinship Terminology: Social Context and Linguistic Features
Claudia Wegener, 318

Savosavo kinship terminology is remarkable in that it covers fifteen generations, a feature unique in its immediate geographical context, the Solomon Islands, and rare cross-linguistically. The aim of this paper is to present the kinship terminology system of the easternmost Papuan language from both an anthropological and a linguistic perspective, thus providing a comprehensive account of the terms, the system they form, their morphosyntactic and pragmatic features, and how they are used in everyday life. Both consanguineal and affinal kin are considered.

Pure Possibility and Pure Necessity Modals in Paciran Javanese
Jozina Vander Klok, 341

This paper provides a first complete description of pure possibility and pure necessity modals in the Paciran dialect of Javanese, based on a wide variety of fieldwork tools such as elicitation, storyboards (www.storyboards.org), interviews, and a questionnaire on modality that I designed. To best understand their semantics, I present a theoretically informed approach to describing modality, focusing on both modal force and modal flavor. I then present a formal semantic analysis of these modals in Paciran Javanese within the standard Kratzerian theory, explicitly showing how modals with fixed flavor and fixed force can be captured.

Language Vitality among the Bidayuh of Sarawak (East Malaysia)
Paolo Coluzzi, Patricia Nora Riget, and Wang Xiaomei, 375

The study begins with a general introduction to Malaysia and its linguistic repertoire, and then focuses on the ethnic group known as Bidayuh living in the Western part of Sarawak (Borneo). The article goes on to outline the methodology employed in our research, based on a survey on language use and attitudes carried out in four different villages in the Bidayuh belt. The results are then analyzed in general terms, showing a high degree of vitality for the Bidayuh language. In contrast, when the answers given by the younger speakers of the language and those provided by the older ones are compared, a pattern of slow but steady ongoing language shift clearly emerges. The article closes with some general considerations, including further comparisons between the results of our research and those of other studies conducted in more urban environments and/or among highly educated Bidayuh. There is some evidence to show a higher degree of endangerment for the Bidayuh language outside the Bidayuh belt.

Symmetrical Voice and Applicative Alternations: Evidence from Totoli
Nikolaus P. Himmelmann and Sonja Riesberg, 396

This paper proposes an analysis of the system of voice and applicative alternations in Totoli, a language spoken on Sulawesi in Indonesia. This system appears to be unique among Western Malayo-Polynesian languages (at least the ones reasonably well known to date). Its uniqueness is due to a particularly intricate interplay of (symmetrical) voice and applicative functions marked by a set of affixes that are clearly cognate with voice marking affixes in Philippine-type languages. In trying to tease apart the functions of the different constructions making up the system, the paper contributes to a better understanding of the commonalities and differences between symmetrical voice and applicative alternations. It also discusses variation in the use of voice-related morphology, thus providing a rather rare glimpse into the ongoing change of a western Austronesian voice system.

Innovative Numerals in Malayo-Polynesian Languages outside of Oceania
Antoinette Schapper and Harald Hammarström, 423

In this paper, we seek to draw attention to Malayo-Polynesian languages outside of the Oceanic subgroup with innovative bases and complex numerals involving various additive, subtractive, and multiplicative procedures. We highlight the fact that the number of languages showing such innovations is more than previously recognized in the literature. Finally, we observe that the concentration of complex numeral innovations in the region of eastern Indonesia suggests Papuan influence, either through contact or substrate. However, we also note that sociocultural factors, in the form of numeral taboos and conventionalized counting practices, may have played a role in driving innovations in numerals.

Malagasy Dialect Divisions: Genetic versus Emblematic Criteria
Alexander Adelaar, 457

This paper gives an overview of the literature on Malagasy dialect variety and the various Malagasy dialect classifications that have been proposed. It rejects the often held view that the way Malagasy dialects reflect the Proto-Austronesian phoneme sequences *li and *ti is a basic criterion for their genetic division. While the linguistic innovations shown in, respectively, central dialects (Merina, Betsileo, Sihanaka, Tanala) and southwestern dialects (Vezo, Mahafaly, Tandroy) clearly show that these groups form separate historical divisions, the linguistic developments in other (northern, eastern, and western) dialects are more difficult to interpret. The differences between Malagasy dialects are generally rather contained and do not seem to be the result of separate migration waves or the arrival of linguistically different migrant groups. The paper ends with a list of subgrouping criteria that will be useful for future research into the history of Malagasy dialects.


Is Puyuma a Primary Branch of Austronesian? A Rejoinder
Laurent Sagart, 481

This paper responds to recent criticism by Teng and Ross of a critique by Sagart of Ross’s claim, based on Teng’s grammar of Puyuma, that Puyuma has escaped the mechanism reinterpreting nominalization into verbs and should, therefore, be considered a primary branch of Austronesian. While acknowledging that Teng and Ross have presented an interpretation of the ‘do N times’ verbs that removes a part of the ground for the UVP *-en suffix being reflected in Puyuma, this paper details points in Sagart’s original paper that Teng and Ross have avoided in their response regarding Tsouic lexical innovations and fossilized *-en in two Puyuma verbs. It documents the existence of interspeaker differences in Puyuma sentences containing <in>, and argues that <in> in those and other sentences is a perfective marker of finite verbs under competition from la, a marker of new situations with perfective interpretations. Finally, it confirms the conclusion in Sagart’s paper that Puyuma has not escaped the reinterpretation of nominalizations into voicemarked verbs.


The Austronesian Comparative Dictionary: A Work in Progress
Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel, 493

The Austronesian comparative dictionary (ACD) is an open-access online resource that currently (June 2013) includes 4,837 sets of reconstructions for nine hierarchically ordered protolanguages. Of these, 3,805 sets consist of single bases, and the remaining 1,032 sets contain 1,032 bases plus 1,781 derivatives, including affixed forms, reduplications, and compounds. Historical inferences are based on material drawn from more than 700 attested languages, some of which are cited only sparingly, while others appear in over 1,500 entries. In addition to its main features, the ACD contains supplementary sections on widely distributed loanwords that could potentially lead to erroneous protoforms, submorphemic “roots,” and “noise” (in the information-theoretic sense of random lexical similarity that arises from historically independent processes). Although the matter is difficult to judge, the ACD, which prints out to somewhat over 3,000 single-spaced pages, now appears to be about half complete.


In Memoriam, Darrell Tryon, 1942‒2013
Andrew Pawley, 524


Siraya: Retrieving the phonology, grammar and lexicon of a dormant Formosan language by Alexander Adelaar
Laurent Sagart, 540

Norfolk Island: History, people, environment, language by Peter Mühlhäusler and Joshua Nash
Kate Burridge, 550


Index of Languages in Volume 52, 553