The radically isolating languages of Flores
A challenge to diachronic theory
The languages of central Flores are all but devoid of affixation, despite that this is hardly typical of the Austronesian languages of their family, including closely related languages elsewhere on the island and nearby ones. A traditional approach to these central Flores languages’ typology is to ascribe their analyticity to grammar-internal drift, under which the disappearance of this affixal battery was due merely to fortuitous matters of stress, analogy, reanalysis, etc. Here I argue that a great deal of evidence suggests that these languages actually underwent heavy second-language acquisition by adults at some point in the relatively recent past, most likely by male invaders from a different island. The evidence includes phenomena familiar from recent developments in creolization theory, as well as a cross-linguistic approach to analyticity and its causes.
Keywords: Austronesian, drift, diachronic linguistic theory, creolization, second language acquisition, analyticity
Published online: 29 October 2019
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