Directionals in Paluai: Semantics, Use, and Grammaticalization Paths

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    A phenomenon commonly encountered in Oceanic languages consists of verb-like forms that indicate the direction of motion verbs, which go by different names depending on the analysis. This article discusses the directional paradigm of Paluai (Eastern Admiralties), spoken on Baluan Island (Manus Province, Papua New Guinea). This language has an exceptionally large paradigm of ten directionals, which are obligatorily used in serial verb constructions (SVCs) to express the direction of the action represented by the main verb. The Paluai paradigm is interesting because it utilizes an absolute frame of reference in which many of the terms are additionally specified for deixis. Which directional is used in what context depends on two variables: first, where the motion is directed with regard to a land-sea axis (absolute or cardinal direction); and second, whether the motion is directed away from or toward a deictic center, or in neither direction. Although the directionals are used predominantly in SVCs, they are all attested as main verbs, heading a predicate. They have, however, undergone some degree of grammaticaliza-tion; this appears to be especially the case with la 'motion away from the deictic center'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-191
    JournalOceanic Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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