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Diverging and converging patterns of possession: Allang in its Central Maluku context
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-02, 02:08 authored by Ewing, Michael C.
The language of Allang village, together with the closely related varieties spoken in Wakasihu and Larike, stands out among East Central Maluku languages in having developed a complete paradigm of independent possessive pronouns. Additionally, the alienable-inalienable distinction found in other East Central Maluku languages appears to have vanished in this language group. I first present a scenario for the emergence of the Allang-style possessive pronoun paradigm, followed by discussion of structures (among the classifier system, the expression of part-whole relationships, and alternations among certain lexical suffixes) which all point to an older system of inalienable possession marking as their source. Allang, the only Christian village in this group, has experienced a radical shift to Malay usage during the twentieth century and now only a few people above age 70 are fluent speakers. The possessive and related constructions occurring in all three varieties would have developed at a time when all were robust languages and these constructions show a interesting divergence from other East Central Maluku languages. I conclude by describing possessive structures which are emerging among Allang speakers during the current process of language shift, structures that appear to be moving in the direction of a reconvergence with other emergent possessive constructions in Central Maluku.