Chapter 9. Walk around the clock

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Most Oceanic languages have complex systems of directionals which have been shaped by geographical, topographical or meteorological factors. Siar, an Oceanic language of the Patpatar-Tolai subgroup in New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea, is one of these languages. However, it is difficult to determine the exact position of some of its directionals on this axis because of superficially contradictory data (that is, the same speaker uses different directionals in the same context). I will here present a theory which assumes that two of the Siar directionals have been undergoing semantic adjustment because of the migration of some Siar speakers from the east coast to the previously unoccupied west coast. A result of this migration was the reanalysis of these two directionals as clockwise and counter-clockwise directionals, an uncommon phenomenon cross-linguistically.


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