Austronesian Root Theory: An essay on the limits of by Robert A. Blust

By Robert A. Blust

Because the pioneering analyses of Renward Brandstetter (1860–1942) a quasi-morphological aspect referred to as the ‘root’ has been well-known in Austronesian linguistics. This monograph confronts the various methodological and great concerns raised yet by no means absolutely resolved through Brandstetter. on the way to re-examine the price of his paintings for modern linguistics the writer examines Brandstetter’s tools and effects, and applies a transformed from of this method of new fabric. The research establishes 230 roots in line with greater than 2,560 root tokens in a few 117 languages. it's therefore meant to function a rudimentary root dictionary and a uncomplicated instruction manual as regards to the basis for destiny students of Austronesian.

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In Table 2, kempit "carry under the arm" and kepit "pressure between two connected surfaces", sempit "confined (of space); cramped; shut in" and sepit "nipping, to nip", simpit "narrow, confined" and sipit "half closed (of the eye)" are counted as independent lexical items, since the meanings clearly are distinguished. I have followed a similar practice 24 AUSTRONESIAN ROOT THEORY with minimal or near-minimal pairs distinguished by prenasalization in other languages, as with Manggarai rempuk "breaking easily (of wood), brittle", repok "sound of a slap" /repuk "sound of wood, bone, etc.

In the following discussion the term "cognate set" will be restricted to cognate sets that permit a reconstruction on the PWMP, PMP or PAN levels, and contrasted with the term "morpheme isolate", which will designate a morpheme that cannot be assigned to a cognate set of more than local subgroup membership. Thus, in Appendix 1 a root pit is supported by 19 known cognate sets (2 supporting PAN recon­ structions, 6 supporting PMP reconstructions and 11 supporting PWMP reconstructions), and by 29 morpheme isolates.

Attention was given briefly to t h e question how chance convergence can be eliminated as a plausible alternative to common origin or drift in explaining t h e d a t a of Appendix 2. A more extended discussion is perhaps in order at this point. 28 AUSTRONESIAN ROOT THEORY How can we feel confident that the material of Appendix 2 — in whole or in part — is not a product of the random matching of sound and meaning? The present study draws material from over 100 languages, and the dictionaries for some of them contain thousands of entries.

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