Title: First Steps Towards a Grammar of Makasae
Subtitle: A language of East Timor
Series Title: Languages of the World/Materials 195
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Author: Juliette Huber
Paperback: ISBN: 9782895861406 Pages: 122 Price: Europe EURO 42.00
Makasae is a non-Austronesian / Papuan language spoken by a population of some 70,000 in the newly independent state of East Timor. Because of its long history of occupation and civil war, the nation's languages are so far sparsely documented. The present work is the first Makasae grammar description to be published in English.
Makasae is largely isolating in structure, and its grammar has in many respects assimilated to that of its Austronesian neighbours. Its defining Papuan features are the vocabulary and the characteristic SOV word order. The present monograph gives a phonology sketch and a description of some morphological processes, but focuses on the syntax. Of special interest is the marking of grammatical roles, through which some degree of syntactic flexibility from the otherwise rigid SOV word order is achieved. The linguistic analysis is copiously illustrated with examples and is complemented by a story transcript.