Leti is spoken on the island with the same name near the Indonesian-East Timorese border. This small Austronesian language became known among linguists for the complex patterns of metathesis permeating its entire grammar.
Besides little discussed topics, like its intricate deictic system and lexical parallelism, this book provides information on intriguing features of the Leti language that remained undescribed, such as singing, naming, storytelling and the semantics of the indexer clitic.
A complete version of the Sailfish myth that underlies the structures of all Southwest Malukan island communities has been added. The entire text is provided with interlinear glosses. All lexical items in the text and in the description have been inserted in a word list together with all lexical parallels.
Being the first exhaustive study of a Southwest Malukan language, this description is a valuable contribution to the typological study of East Indonesia and East Timor and to Austronesian linguistics. The abundance of examples makes it of interest also for linguists with a theoretical orientation in phonology, syntax and semantics. The 'insider's perspective' approach provides essential information for students of ethnolinguistics and oral traditions in the region.
Aone van Engelenhoven is a member of the House Rumlavna that belongs to the clan of Tilupun-Slaupun in Tutukei. He lectures Austronesian linguistics at Leiden University and is currently a member of the Directorate of the Instituto Nacional de Linguística, the national language authority of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. This book is an expanded and extensively revised edition of his PhD thesis (Leiden University, 1998).