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MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Comparative-historical analysis of the clausal structure in Reefs-Santa Cruz languages

Tildelt: kr 2,1 mill.






2023 - 2025


Comparative-historical analysis of the clausal structure in Reefs-Santa Cruz languages

The objective of CHAOCLRSC is to fill a significant gap in the history of Oceanic languages by providing a comparative-historical analysis of the clausal structure in the Reefs-Santa Cruz (RSC) languages spoken on the Reef Islands and Santa Cruz (SC). Despite being classified as Oceanic, RSC show unexpected features, including unusual patterns of clausal structure. In particular, Äiwoo displays a symmetrical voice system, a type of clausal structure which is highly unusual in the Oceanic family. In this respect, Äiwoo differs significantly from the other RSC languages, in that, like most Oceanic languages, they display transitivity-based systems. The presence of a symmetrical voice system in Äiwoo is of interest for the history of the Oceanic subgroup, since voice systems are thought to have been lost in the transition from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP) to Proto-Oceanic (POc). Recent studies on Äiwoo and SC systems have shown that the two systems are unusual in two different ways. Äiwoo can be seen as ‘transitional’ because it retains a symmetrical voice system with Oceanic morphology, whereas SC languages retain some voice-like characteristics in otherwise largely transitivitybased systems. Historically, the change from PMP to Äiwoo represents one stage of development from symmetrical voice to the Oceanic transitivity-based system, while the differences between Äiwoo and SC may represent a further stage. This makes comparative-historical work on SC clause structures an urgent priority. More broadly, understanding how the shift from a symmetrical voice system to a transitivity-based has happened in RSC will contribute to our understanding of the general principles governing both individual systems and, more generally, the change from one clausal system to the other


MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)