Abstract

In a recent article, Blust (2007) presents a comprehensive summary of the etymology of Proto-Oceanic *mana ‘potent, effectual; supernatural power’, highlighting an ancient association between this word and the powerful forces of nature. Here I present new lexical data from Oceanic, Central Malayo-Polynesian, and South Halmahera–West New Guinea languages that support the reconstruction of Proto–Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian *mana ‘supernatural power, associated with spirits of the ancestors and the forces of nature’. Lexical comparisons from non-Austronesian languages of New Guinea suggest significant prehistoric contact between Austronesian and non-Austronesian speakers, and may support a connection between the meaning of Proto–Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian *mana, and the semantics of Proto–Western Malayo-Polynesian *mana(q) ‘inherit(ance)’.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 253-274
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-24
Open Access
No
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