LINGUIST List 12.1887

Tue Jul 24 2001

Qs: "Buying" Languages, Phonological Complexity

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  1. Catriona Hyslop, buying languages
  2.>, Phonological Complexity / Phoneme Length

Message 1: buying languages

Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 13:18:19 -0700
From: Catriona Hyslop <>
Subject: buying languages

I am researching an Austronesian language spoken on the island of
Ambae in Vanuatu. The oral history of the island tells of how the
speakers of one dialect admired the neighbouring dialect and wanted to
'buy' it from them. A formal exchange took place where the speakers of
the Longana dialect bought the Lolovoli dialect using traditional
exchange items. In effect the speakers swapped dialects and after the
exchange, the speakers of each dialect no longer had the right to
speak the other dialect. As to how much of the language was swapped
and what features, this is not clear. People today only know of
certain words that were swapped.

Does anybody know of a similar exchange or purchase of language or
features of a language occurring in other areas of the world? If you
do, please email me at


Dr. Catriona Hyslop
Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta
PO Box 184, Port Vila, Vanuatu
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Message 2: Phonological Complexity / Phoneme Length

Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 16:45:10 GMT
From:> <>
Subject: Phonological Complexity / Phoneme Length

I'm working in psycholinguistics and I'd like to know
if there exists measures or norms of:

-phonological complexity (i.e. that would say that
"k" is more complex than "a")
-phoneme length (i.e. plosives take more time to be
articulated than "vowels")

Thanks in advance
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