Abstract: Oceanic languages typically display possessor-indexing suffixes that distinguish the usual four Oceanic person categories, along with at least singular and plural. However, a group of languages of central Choiseul (Solomon Islands), including Ririo, Babatana, and Sisiqa, display only three possessor-indexing suffixes. Two reflect Proto-Oceanic forms and index 1 sg and 2 sg possessors. The third, an innovated form, indexes all other person number categories (that is, 3 sg and all nonsingular categories). This paper investigates the formal and structural characteristics of this innovated non-1/2 sg suffix. It examines the phenomenon in each of the three languages, including allomorphy of the suffix, and the manner in which person and number categories are expressed in the presence of the innovated suffix. In terms of the former, it finds each language displays different allomorphy patterns, with both - e and - a occurring, along with - i when following a high vowel. Various other factors are at play in one or more languages, including vowel harmony and presuffix vowel loss. In terms of the coding of non-1/2 sg person and number categories, the paper finds that the innovated suffix licenses a possessor NP that may contain a lexical noun or dependent pronoun. However, in the absence of an overt possessor NP, the suffix prompts a default 3 sg reading.
Oceanic Linguistics – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 8, 2014
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