Klamer, Marian [Ebook].The Alor-Pantar languages : History and typology, 2014
The Alor-Pantar family constitutes the westernmost outlier group of Papuan (Non-Austronesian) languages. Its twenty or so languages are spoken onthe islands of Alor and Pantar, located just north of Timor, in eastern In-donesia. Together with the Papuan languages of Timor, they make up theTimor-Alor-Pantar family. The languages average 5,000 speakers and areunder pressure from the local Malay variety as well as the national lan-guage, Indonesian.This volume studies the internal and external linguistic history of thisinteresting group, and showcases some of its unique typological features,such as the preference to index the transitive patient-like argument onthe verb but not the agent-like one; the extreme variety in morphologi-cal alignment patterns; the use of plural number words; the existence ofquinary numeral systems; the elaborate spatial deictic systems involvingan elevation component; and the great variation exhibited in their kinshipsystems.Unlike many other Papuan languages, Alor-Pantar languages do not ex-hibit clause-chaining, do not have switch reference systems, never suffixsubject indexes to verbs, do not mark gender, but do encode clusivity intheir pronominal systems. Indeed, apart from a broadly similar head-finalsyntactic profile, there is little else that the Alor-Pantar languages sharewith Papuan languages spoken in other regions. While all of them showsome traces of contact with Austronesian languages, in general, borrow-ing from Austronesian has not been intense, and contact with Malay andIndonesian is a relatively recent phenomenon in most of the Alor-Pantarregion.