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Title: Preverbal Particles in Pingelapese: A Language of Micronesia
Authors: Hattori, Ryoko
Keywords: Austronesian Languages
Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian Languages
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: This dissertation presents a synchronic and diachronic study of Pingelapese pronouns and auxiliary verbs—ae, e, aen, and en. Synchronically, Pingelapese employs subject pronominal clitics, not subject agreement markers, unlike Proto-Micronesian and many other contemporary Micronesian languages. Pingelapese also possesses auxiliary verbs that express evidentiality—the speaker’s degree of certainty about propositions (ae for low certainty and e for high certainty)—as well as inchoative meaning (-n). The combination of evidentiality and inchoative auxiliary verbs yields a realis-irrealis contrast. Comparison with other Micronesian languages reveals that marking evidentiality in this way is unique to Pingelapese. These subject pronouns and auxiliary verbs together compose pronoun-auxiliary complexes. A diachronic study concludes that the root vowel of Proto-Micronesian subject agreement markers was leveled into a uniform vowel ae in Pohnpeic languages. This root vowel ae was innovatively reanalyzed as a low-evidentiality marker, which was accompanied by the development of a high-evidentiality marker e, in the history of Pingelapese. The development of the high-evidentiality marker e from the leveled root vowel ae was achieved through the merger of a following hypothetical high front vowel particle *i (with the high certainty meaning), vowel height assimilation, and final vowel deletion. In contrast, the inchoative morpheme -n of aen and en has a cognate in all Micronesian languages, descending from the Proto-Micronesian “immediateness marker” *nae. Along with the reanalysis of the root vowel of Proto-Micronesian subject agreement markers into evidential markers, the pre-root vowel parts have turned into subject pronominal clitics: s- ‘1dual/pl exclusive’, k- ‘2sg’, Ø- ‘3sg’, r- ‘3dual/pl’. The Pingelapese stand-alone auxiliary verbs developed by extracting ae, aen, e, and en from the subject pronoun-auxiliary complexes, leaving the person/number morphemes behind.
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