Abstract

The line dividing the Austronesian languages into Western Malayo-Polynesian (WMP) and Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian (CEMP) is drawn east of Sulawesi and through the middle of Sumbawa. A number of phonological or semantic changes are claimed as forming the basis of this distinction, as well as the typological profile of the languages to the east being different from those to the west, and a number of lexical items being attested only east of the line. We examine the phonological and semantic innovations, as well as the erratic morphological ones, showing that none of them define the CEMP line, but indicate that (a) the Central Malayo-Polynesian (CMP)–area languages do not convincingly meet the criteria commonly accepted for a subgroup or even a linkage, (b) some of the WMP-area languages exhibit more of the same features found in at least some of the CMP-area languages than do others, and (c) many of the traits ascribed to the CMP- or CEMP-area languages can be found in more conservative WMP-area or Formosan languages as well.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 114-158
Launched on MUSE
2008-07-23
Open Access
No
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