Variation in Matukar Panau kinship terminology
Referential kinship terms in Matukar Panau (Oceanic, Papua New Guinea) are obligatorily possessed. Traditionally, kinship terms are directly possessed in Oceanic languages (with an obligatory suffix on the root that agrees with the person and number of the possessor). In Matukar Panau, some kinship terms are also indirectly possessed (with a classifier that agrees with the person and number of the possessor). A third pattern shows double-marking of possessors with directly possessed terms co-occurring with a classifier. I present a multivariate analysis of the predictors that influence the choice of the direct, indirect or double-marked patterns. Older women and younger men are most likely to use the indirect pattern, particularly when discussing their own kin from their households, especially in conversational situations. The indirect possession pattern, then, is used for more integral relationships, what has previously been the semantic domain of direct possession in Oceanic.
Keywords: Oceanic, possession, kinship, classifiers, random forest, mixed-effects regression
Published online: 02 March 2020
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