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Lexical variations among five speech communities of Alorese in East Indonesia

Monday 26 March 2018
Descriptive and Anthropological Linguistics Discussion Group
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
2311BV Leiden


This paper aims to (1) investigate lexical variations between five speech communities of Alorese, a language spoken in East Indonesia, (2) explore the influences from the surrounding Papuan and Austronesian languages, and (3) identify the causes behind the emergence of this variation. Lexical differences between these Alorese communities will be discussed based on their etymologies and possible borrowings from the surrounding Austronesian and Papuan languages. I will also discuss the proposal of contact-induced change as motivation for lexical variation.

In order to determine the degree of variation, a lexical database from LexiRumah (model.ling.eu) was collected to observe variation in Munaseli, Alor Besar, and Pandai. Meanwhile, lexical data for Baranusa and Marica were gathered during a fieldwork trip in 2014 to both locations. The lexical datasets are compiled based on their glossed translations. The data consist of more than 600 lexemes for each speech community.

I hypothesize that there are two main groups showing a large degree of internal lexical variation. These groups are the eastern Alorese varieties (Mn, AB and Pd) which have more Papuan lexical features, and the western Alorese varieties (Mc and Bn) which have more Austronesian lexical features.

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