Gender is not a typical feature of Austronesian languages. In the insular region of Indonesia directly west of New Guinea, however, a semantic gender distinction of neuter versus nonneuter is commonplace. In this paper, I argue that this gender distinction is an areal feature that has been independently innovated several times in the Austronesian languages of the region. I further contend that this feature is likely to have developed under influence from Papuan languages possessing similar systems.
|Published - 2010