Abstract

This paper examines retention and loss of Proto-Oceanic final consonants in three different groups of Remote Oceanic languages in the light of Blevins's recent discussion in this journal of the unnaturalness of final C-loss within the wider Austronesian family. Languages of (i) northwest Malakula, (ii) southern Vanuatu, and (iii) the Loyalty Islands and northern New Caledonia do not experience the total or near-total loss of final consonants that is commonplace elsewhere within Remote Oceanic. Each group shows partially different patterns of retention and loss from the others, and there are also some differences between members of the same group; but in no case was there a rule deleting all final consonants. There were, however, rules deleting all final vowels, and this V-deletion process may have created a situation in which final consonants were more resistant to loss than in languages with predominantly open final syllables. I will suggest that in each of these three areas consonants were lost by means of natural rules, and that a series of natural rules, rather than a single unnatural rule, may be the explanation for cases in other subgroups where all final consonants have been lost.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 90-112
Launched on MUSE
2005-07-08
Open Access
No
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