Abstract

In languages of central Flores (eastern Indonesia), domestic goats are labeled with reflexes of the Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP) term for 'deer' (Cervus timorensis). At the same time, deer are named with the same lexeme plus a modifier, being designated in effect as 'forest goats'. This development is best explained as the product of a marking-reversal. Like most large mammals, both goats and deer were brought to Flores by humans, yet the present naming of goats with reflexes of a PMP term for deer indicates that deer were introduced before goats. While some zooarchaeological evidence suggests deer were first brought to Flores by Europeans in the sixteenth century, other evidence indicates the presence of goats on the neighboring island of Timor for a very much longer period. In this way, particulars of Flores animal nomenclature inform a discussion of the faunal prehistory of the region.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 450-463
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-29
Open Access
No
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