The morphosyntax of a created language of the Philippines: Folk linguistic effects and the limits of relexification

Piers Kelly

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    The Eskaya people of Bohol in the southern Philippines use the Eskayan language and script in specific domains: schooling, church, speechmaking and literary transcription. Both language and script are attributed to an ancestral creator known as Pinay. At first glance, Eskayan appears to be a simple relexification of the regional Visayan language of which Eskaya people are mother-tongue speakers, as translations of the traditional literature into Visayan have the appearance of word-for-word calques. However, the ostensibly straightforward relationship between the two lects becomes more problematic at the level of morphology. The 24 Visayan verbal affixes and their allomorphs are handled by just five Eskayan counterparts and traditional texts are replete with ambiguities that cannot always be resolved by Eskayan speakers. Accordingly, interpretations are fixed by convention or judged by context. The review of Eskayan morphosyntax, and its relationships to Visayan structures, brings into focus the analytical categories that the putative creator Pinay brought to the task of constructing the language. More broadly, it draws attention to the scope for grammatical innovation in engineered languages, as well as the inherent constraints.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages179-223
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventConference of the Australian Linguistic Society 2011 - Canberra Australia
    Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceConference of the Australian Linguistic Society 2011
    Period1/01/12 → …

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