Abstract: In a recent contribution to this journal, Antoinette Schapper has questioned the validity of two reconstructed marsupial terms that have been used as key pieces of evidence for a Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of Austronesian languages. While she is correct in stating that reflexes of *mans(aə)r have been glossed erroneously as 'bandicoot' rather than 'cuscus' in a number of languages in eastern Indonesia, her corrections leave the subgrouping argument intact. Schapper's dismissal of Central Malayo-Polynesian evidence for *kandoRa is arbitrary, and her gloss of *mans(aə)r as 'cuscus' is no less problematic than the gloss 'bandicoot' proposed by Blust. These cognate sets for marsupials that span much of eastern Indonesia and the western Pacific thus remain as powerful evidence that the Austronesian languages of this region shared a period of common development apart from all other members of this family.
Oceanic Linguistics – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 30, 2012