Abstract

A number of languages in central Vanuatu show merger of Proto-Oceanic *l and *r, but also show a split in the merged phoneme. Although reflected as a liquid in certain environments, especially before or adjacent to a high vowel and also word-initially, *l and *r are also reflected as i, zero, or zero accompanied by fronting and raising of one of the adjacent vowels in the neighborhood of nonhigh vowels. The languages that show this context-sensitive vocalization and loss are geographically fairly contiguous, being spoken in southeast Malakula, Paama, and Epi, but belong to different genetic subgroups of Central Vanuatu. This paper attempts to explain these facts in their historical context.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 294-315
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-24
Open Access
No
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