Abstract

Abstract:

In recent years, much more lexical data have become available for the Temotu languages, a purported subgroup of Oceanic. This paper reexamines some significant changes to Oceanic consonants in light of this larger dataset. While the bulk of previous analyses is retained, several changes hypothesized in earlier literature are shown to require revision. The syncope and truncation sound changes proposed by Ross and Næss are reinterpreted as emergent from prosodic effects, and as a result of closer study of other sound changes, we find that the hypothesized Utupua–Vanikoro branch is not phonologically well founded. A second merger of sounds in Proto-Oceanic, in addition to the one presented in Ross and Næss, is uncovered for all of Temotu languages, giving support for its acceptance as a subgroup of Oceanic. In a synthesis near the end, we show that evidence from recent archaeological work on the Temotu region that aligns with the linguistic history proposed here.

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