Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Thoughts on Prevli

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Saturday, August 11, 2007, 4:54
Elliott Lash wrote:
> > It looks like I would really like Leti, especially >the anticipatory phenomena. Perhaps you could explain >a bit more about how it works, how exactly does a >form like 'pipdiuma' come about. It looks like >everything gets squished together!
Not totally squished together; it seems to be restricted to constituents-- N+N compds., N+Adj IIRC, Pers+V(+adv. particles). The Hume paper, as I recall, goes into this, as does van Engelenhoven's book cited below. "pipdiuma" is simply pipi+duma; the /i/ metathesizes. There are restrictions: /a/ doesn't met., it deletes; i/u don't met. with themselves, only i+u/a or u+i/a; same with the verbal person prefixes. Also, the met. in compds. seems to be optional, though apparently preferred. Leti and its kin are indeed fascinating. You will need a pretty good library to find the few sources-- 1. J.C.G. Jonker: Lettineesche Taalstudiën, 1932: Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Letterkunde [van Ned. Indië] , vol. LXIX --the Society was in existence IIRC from the 1790s to about 1950. Jonker was the first to publish for a wider audience, but catechisms and Bible stories were published from about the mid-late 1800s on. Lots of quotes from them, plus informant work, and a good dictionary (he also regularized the orthography). 2. Brand new, in English: Aone van Engelenhoven: Leti, a language of SW Maluku, 2004. KITLV Press, Leiden (actually Verh. No. 211-- publ. of the Dutch Koninklijke Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde) Might be still available (Amazon), though no doubt at a frightening price (Aone was kind enough to send me a copy-- he is a native speaker, and has published a lot since around 1990, all in obscure conference papers.) Unlike Jonker, it is more of a reference grammar, very thorough, with a ton of cultural material-- it seems these people are clannish and rather secretive; his being a clan-member got him access to a lot that wouldn't be shared with an outsider. Revised, and I gather modern, orthography, no major conflicts with Jonker. There are, or were, a few of his things online too. Although Leti is now the best described of the entire group, it apparently isn't the prestige lang.-- that distinction belongs to "Luangic" (or Moa), which has undergone some sound changes, mainly *s > h and *w > some kind of "palatal approximant" written "g" (????), and quite of bit of assim. of vowel sequences. Leti is much more conservative phonologically. 3. A related language, recent, also in English: J.P.B. de Josselin de Jong: Wetan Fieldnotes, 1987 VKI 130, Foris Publications, Doordrecht -- "VKI" = Verhandelingen van het Kon. Inst. etc etc. Quite closely related, has the same phenomena as Leti and then some. It's Josselin who suggests that they might originate in fast speech forms. (Ed. by Bob Blust, based on J's field work in the 1930s-- I have a nightmare vision of poor J lugging around a huge recording phonograph, either wind-up or powered by car batteries. Yipes. Or else he was a very good stenographer, and his informants were very patient.......) Shows the same *s via h > 0 and *w > [j] and other changes like Luang/Moa. Perhaps 4. Mark Taber, 1993: Toward a better understanding of the indigenous languages of Southwest Maluku. OcLing 32:2, 389-441 (online version yay!!! at ) Basically a Lexicostatistic analysis, with a 193 item wordlist, of 23 of the area's languages (with typos :-( ), most of them probably relatable to Leti et al, but at what level is very unclear. 5. My paper setting forth the epenthesis-syncope hypothesis from a generative POV: Mills & John Grima, Historical developments in Lettinese, 1980. In Paz Naylor ed., Austronesian Studies. Mich. Papers on South and SE Asia No. 15, Center for S and SEA Studies, Ann Arbor. Aone van E. very kindly credits me with bringing these phenomena to the attention of the current generation of scholars. I mentioned other area langs. that also show metatheses of one sort or another. SIL has been working in this area for some time, but their pubs. are very hard to find; unfortunately they tend to be rather old-fashioned "phonemic" analyses. Still, better than nothing. If your library has any of the Proceedings of the (various) Intl. Confs. on Austronesian Linguistics volumes, there are scattered articles, almost none of which I've seen. Michigan, I know, has Jonker and Josselin (in fact conplete runs of the Bat.Soc. and KITLV stuff), and probably the CSSEA book. (The Verhandelingen are special monographs; both also published a regular journal Tijdschrift van het.....) More, perhaps, than you wanted to know......:-)))))))))