Symmetrical Voice and Applicative Alternations: Evidence from Totoli

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.