Abstract

This paper surveys the reflexes of the *qali/kali- prefix family in Micronesian languages, with illustrative examples from the Lukunosh dialect of Mortlockese, a language spoken in the Federated States of Micronesia. Historically, these prefixes marked lexical items as having a connection to the spirit world, with reconstructed forms attested from Proto-Austronesian to Proto-Oceanic, as well as in the Nuclear Micronesian languages. I claim that Proto-Micronesian had a reflex of *qali- (rather than *kali-) in the form *ali- with a similar cultural connection to the spirit world. On the other hand, Proto-Central Micronesian *li- ‘nominalizing agentive prefix’ is best analyzed as an innovation in Micronesian languages rather than a derivative of a *qali/kali- prefix. To broaden the ethnographic description of these pervasive prefixes, I discuss examples of *ali- and *li- reflexes in the Lukunosh dialect of Mortlockese.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 192-221
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-16
Open Access
No
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