Internal Classification of the Alor-Pantar Language Family Using Computational Methods Applied to the Lexicon

in Language Dynamics and Change
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The non-Austronesian languages of Alor and Pantar in eastern Indonesia have been shown to be genetically related using the comparative method, but the identified phonological innovations are typologically common and do not delineate neat subgroups. We apply computational methods to recently collected lexical data and are able to identify subgroups based on the lexicon. Crucially, the lexical data are coded for cognacy based on identified phonological innovations. This methodology can succeed even where phonological innovations themselves fail to identify subgroups, showing that computational methods using lexical data can be a powerful tool supplementing the comparative method.

Internal Classification of the Alor-Pantar Language Family Using Computational Methods Applied to the Lexicon

in Language Dynamics and Change

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Donohue (2007) argues that the now extinct language Tambora located some 700km west of Alor-Pantar may also have been non-Austronesian.

Figures

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    Figure 1. Map of the Alor-Pantar languages.

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    Figure 2. Timor-Alor-Pantar classification from Ethnologue 2005 (Gordon, 2005).

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    Figure 3. Timor-Alor-Pantar classification from Ethnologue 2009 (Lewis, 2009).

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    Figure 4. Subgrouping of Alor-Pantar based on shared phonological innovations (H2012).

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    Figure 5. Split graph of NeighborNet analysis of lexical characters (excluding pAP).

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    Figure 6. Idealized reticulate graph with four taxa A, B, C, D.

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    Figure 7. Distribution of lexical items by semantic category.

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    Figure 8. Biplot of Principal Components 1 and 2.

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    Figure 9. Split graph based on phonological innovations.

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    Figure 10. Bayesian MCMC consensus tree for lexical data (relaxed Dollo model).

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    Figure 11. Tree generated using traditional lexicostatistics.

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