Abstract

In the Solomon Islands, four Papuan languages are spoken: Savosavo, Touo, Lavukaleve, and Bilua. Some scholars, namely Todd and Ross, have tried to prove that these languages are genetically related through the comparison of pronouns and other morphemes, such as object and subject affixes. Although a similarity in the pronominal forms has been identified, the low number of lexical similarities has not allowed a definitive conclusion on the existence of the family.

In this paper, the pronouns and all other morphemes that carry information on gender, person, or number in each language are compared in order to identify recurrent forms carrying identical gender, person, or number information. These recurring forms are used to perform internal reconstructions in each language, which in turn are used to propose a reconstruction of some pronouns of the putative protolanguage and a family tree. The comparison among the four languages leads to the identification of an identical syncretism in clusivity between first person inclusive and second person nonsingular morphemes, which is expressed with the same form in the four languages. This syncretism, together with the very similar first and second person pronominal paradigms, are adduced as new arguments in favor of the existence of a Central Solomons family.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 358-395
Launched on MUSE
2015-11-23
Open Access
No
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