Abstract: In this paper I give a critical assessment of John Wolff's interpretation of the phonological history of Malagasy as it appears in his recent book on Proto-Austronesian phonology. The various aspects of Wolff's approach that I deal with include the development of final open syllables, the spirantization and fricativization of stops and semivowels, the reduction of *-ŋk- clusters, and Wolff's interpretation of the development of Proto-Austronesian *s (or *c in Wolff's notation). I also discuss the impact of Bantu languages on the development of Malagasy after the migration of its speakers to East Africa. This impact was a major one, although it is seriously underestimated in Wolff's perspective.
Oceanic Linguistics – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 30, 2012