In a 1987 paper, Blust reconstructed five Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP) terms for buildings. One of these was *kamaliR 'men's house', based on Proto-Oceanic *kamaliR 'men's house', and cognates with diverse meanings in other Austronesian languages. This gloss was questioned in at least three published sources on the grounds that the men's house was not a Proto-Malayo-Polynesian social institution, but is common in Melanesia, supporting the inference that Proto-Oceanic *kamaliR shifted from the meaning 'granary' to the meaning 'men's house' as a result of contact with Papuan speakers. However, attention to the evidence exposes both ethnological and linguistic problems with this interpretation. It is concluded that PMP *kamaliR designated a structure that corresponded in general with the bachelor's dormitories found among Austronesian speakers in several parts of island Southeast Asia, as well as among linguistically unrelated peoples on the Southeast Asian mainland and elsewhere.


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pp. 335-358
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