Proto Oceanic

Authored by: John Lynch , Malcolm Ross , Terry Crowley

The Oceanic Languages

Print publication date:  December  2001
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780700711284
eBook ISBN: 9780203820384
Adobe ISBN: 9781136749858


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Our subject in this chapter is the reconstruction of Proto Oceanic (POc), the language ancestral to all Oceanic languages, and its relationship to the rest of the Austronesian family. One may well ask, why reconstruct protolanguages? We will mention three reasons here. The first is that reconstructing protolanguages is part and parcel of working out the subgrouping of the languages in a family and thereby of making hypotheses about their prehistory. The second is that an important component of reconstruction is vocabulary, and this can tell us a certain amount about the culture of the people who used it, as well as about subsequent changes in that culture. The third reason is that, as we saw in Chapter 3, there is considerable typological variety among Oceanic languages, and the reconstruction of morphosyntactic change is of interest for linguistic theory.

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