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Academic Paper


Title: Disyllabic Attractors and Anti-Antigemination in Austronesian Sound Change
Author: Robert A Blust
Institution: University of Hawaii
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Phonology
Abstract: An overview of the historical phonology of the Austronesian languages shows certain recurrent patterns of change that resemble the synchronic notion of a conspiracy. Over 90% of all lexical bases in Proto-Austronesian and other early Austronesian proto-languages are disyllabic. This dominant pattern, which was transmitted to most of the 1200-plus Austronesian languages spoken today, has tended repeatedly to reassert itself in forms that have come to have other than two syllables. As a structurally defined target that is satisfied by diverse historical changes, this preferential disyllabism can be considered an 'attractor' in the sense of Kelso (1995). Perhaps the most interesting consequence of disyllabic attractors in Austronesian historical phonology is the widespread occurrence of syncope only between identical consonants, a pattern that Odden (1988) has characterised in synchronic systems as one of 'anti-antigemination'.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 24, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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