Sources of Proto-Oceanic Initial Prenasalization: The View from Outside Oceanic

Reid, Lawrence A.
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One of the foremost contributions of Stan Starosta to the study of language change has been his insistence on motivated analyses of the structures under consideration within a constrained linguistic theory in order to provide sets of comparably analyzed data. His version of dependency grammar, Lexicase, provides such a framework for the study of syntactic change. In this paper, I attempt to show, using Lexicase analyses of the relevant structures, that certain syntactic changes in early stages of Austronesian languages, specifically the development of determiners from earlier demonstrative nouns, were accompanied by varying patterns of loss of the prepositions that had earlier functioned as either case markers of their following noun phrases, or had connected them to following (nominal) relative clauses. In some languages, the preposition was lost. In others, it became fused with the demonstrative noun, while in others it became a proclitic to what was earlier the head of the following relative clause. It was the latter process, still in operation in some of the Minahasan languages, that ultimately led in Proto-Oceanic to the development of a set of initial prenasalized consonants.
Malayo-Polynesian languages
Reid, Lawrence. "Sources of Proto-Oceanic Initial Prenasalization: The View from Outside Oceanic." In Grammatical Analysis: Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics: Studies in Honor of Stanley Starosta, edited by Videa P. De Guzman and Byron Bender, 30-45. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication No. 29. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000.
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