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Capell, A. (1938) The linguistic position of South Eastern Papua. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis is an attempt to trace the movements of the Indonesian immigrants who have introduced into South Eastern Papua those elements of language and culture known as Melanesian. It is divided into four Parts. Part I. consists of Sound Laws, i.e. laws illustrating the phonetic changes undergone by by Indonesian words in passing from the Mother Tongue into the various Papuan languages into which they have been adapted. The languages trom Cape Possession eastward are taken in geographical order, the Indonesian contents of their word-stores are examind, and the Sotind Laws resulting from this examination stated. The languages are divded into eleven groups, marked on the above map. Some 300 Indonesian words are thus brought to light as the result of this survey. Part II follows up this examination by taking the elements of Indonesian vocabulary and tracing their occurience in detail eastwards and westwards of Papua. They are divided into groups as in Part I. Some words prove to be common to all eleven groups; others are missing from only one or two groups. These words prove to be the commonest in eastern Melanesia also, and their number, together with those of a group that mis the coast languages north of South Cape, is slightly in excess of the combined number of other roots. Thus they are assignable to one movement of peoples, which can be held responsible for the foundation of the specifically Austronesian languages of the Pacific Ocean. Other words are more limited, being found in only one or two groups. Others again seem to radiate from Gape Vogel region, etc., and divisions are made on this basis of relative frequency of occurrence. In Part II. B. a first attempt is made to get behind modern linguistic conditions by the investigation of the non-IN substratum of these languages. The result of this investigation is the establishment of a series of regional languages, spoken before the coming of the immigrants. These languages partake of the certain characteristics, whose presence has largely shaped the form taken by the immigrant material. In this Part is included a brief attempt to classify the existing non-Melajiesian, languages of this part of New Guinea, and the result tends to support the theory of continual movements of peoples across the island fron the north towards the couth. Part III is devoted to comparative Grammar from the double view- point of the interrelationship of the Papuan peoples of the area, and of the effect of Indonesian speech on the grammar as well as on the vocabulary of the region. Reference is made to the kindred problem of Comparative Syntax, bu t space pievents its full development. Part IV is given to the summing up of results, These suggest that there have been at least three movements (the term migration is unsuitable) into the Pacific. The earliest and most widespread movement shows most agreement with Borneo in point of language, and began either there or west of Borneo. The secondis subdvisible into two: one which started from Central Celebes, where agreement with much of S.E.Papuan grammar is closest, and passed through this region, followed by another movement of peoples with Philippine or Northern Celebes affinities. These have not had so much influence on Papua as on New Britain and the Central New Hebrides. The Third Movement is comparatively late and had only sporadic influence in S. E.Papua. In addition there are some words that are definitely Polynesian. The material used in the thesis is largely manuscript which has been collected over a number of years, as well as the printed vocabularies from a number of sources, grammars, tianslations find native texts.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:28

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