Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Referential kinship terms in Matukar Panau (Oceanic, Papua New Guinea) are obligatorily possessed. Traditionally, kinship terms are directly possessed in Oceanic languages (with an obligatory suffix on the root that agrees with the person and number of the possessor). In Matukar Panau, some kinship terms are also indirectly possessed (with a classifier that agrees with the person and number of the possessor). A third pattern shows double-marking of possessors with directly possessed terms co-occurring with a classifier. I present a multivariate analysis of the predictors that influence the choice of the direct, indirect or double-marked patterns. Older women and younger men are most likely to use the indirect pattern, particularly when discussing their own kin from their households, especially in conversational situations. The indirect possession pattern, then, is used for more integral relationships, what has previously been the semantic domain of direct possession in Oceanic.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Baayen, R. Harald
    (2008) Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511801686
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801686 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bates, Douglas, Maechler, Martin, Bolker, Ben, & Walker, Steven
    (2015) Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software67(1), 1–48. 10.18637/jss.v067.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01 [Google Scholar]
  3. Beer, Bettina
    (2015) Cross-sex siblingship and marriage: Transformations of kinship relations among the Wampar, Papua New Guinea. Anthropologica, 211–224.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Chappell, Hillary, & McGregor, William
    (Eds.) (1996) Prolegomena to a theory of inalienability. The grammar of inalienability: A typological perspective on body part terms and the part-whole relation (pp.3–30).
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Crowley, Terry
    (1996) Inalienable possession in Paamese grammar. The grammar of inalienability: A typological perspective on body part terms and the part-whole relation, 14, 383–432.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Crowley, Terry, & Lynch, John
    (2006a) Naman: A vanishing language of Malakula (Vanuatu). Canberra: Pacific linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2006b) Tape: A declining language of Malakula (Vanuatu). Canberra: Pacific linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. (2006c) The Avava language of Central Malakula (Vanuatu). Canberra: Pacific linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Dempwolff, Otto
    (1936) Grammar of the Graged language. Mimeograph. Lutheran Mission, Narer, Karkar,(Papua New Guinea).
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Eckert, Penelope
    (1989) The whole woman: Sex and gender differences in variation. Language Variation and Change, 1(3), 245–267. 10.1017/S095439450000017X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S095439450000017X [Google Scholar]
  11. Gal, Susan
    (1979) Language shift: Social determinants of linguistic change in bilingual Austria. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Hothorn, Torsten, Bühlmann, Peter, Dudoit, Sabdrube, Molinaro, Annette, & Van Der Laan, Marj J.
    (2006) Survival ensembles. Biostatistics, 7(3), 355–373. 10.1093/biostatistics/kxj011
    https://doi.org/10.1093/biostatistics/kxj011 [Google Scholar]
  13. Hothorn, Torsten, Hornik, Kurt, & Zeileis, Achim
    (2006) Unbiased recursive partitioning: A conditional inference framework. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, 15(3), 651–674. 10.1198/106186006X133933
    https://doi.org/10.1198/106186006X133933 [Google Scholar]
  14. Kaspruś, Aloys
    (1942) The languages of the Mugil District, NE-New Guinea. Anthropos, 37/40 (H.4/6), 711–778.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Keenan, Elinor
    (1974) Norm-makers, norm-breakers: Uses of speech by men and women in a Malagasy community. Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking, 2, 125–143.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kryukov, Mikhail V.
    (1972) Sistema rodstva kitaitsev [Kinship system of the Chinese]. Nauka (VL) ca, 3, 24–27.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (1998) The synchro-diachronic method and the multidirectionality of kinship transformations. Transformations of kinship, 294–331.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Kuznetsova, Alexandra, Brockhoff, Per B., & Christensen, Rune H. B.
    (2017) lmerTest package: Tests in linear mixed effects models. Journal of Statistical Software, 82(13). 10.18637/jss.v082.i13
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v082.i13 [Google Scholar]
  19. Labov, William
    (1990) The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change. Language Variation and Change, 2(2), 205–254. 10.1017/S0954394500000338
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000338 [Google Scholar]
  20. Lichtenberk, Frantisek
    (1985) Possessive constructions in Oceanic languages and in Proto-Oceanic. InAndrew Pawley & Lois Carrington (Eds.), Austronesian Linguistics at the 15th Pacific Science Congress (pp.93–140). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Lounsbury, Floyd Glen
    (1964) A formal account of the Crow- and Omaha-type kinship terminologies. InWard H. Goodenough (Ed.), Explorations in cultural anthropology (pp.351-393). New York: McGraw-Hill.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lynch, John
    (1973) Verbal aspects of possession in Melanesian languages. Oceanic Linguistics, 12, 69–102. 10.2307/3622853
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3622853 [Google Scholar]
  23. Lynch, John, Ross, Malcom, & Crowley, Terry
    (2002) The oceanic languages. Psychology Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Marck, Jeff
    (Forthcoming). Proto Oceanic kin terms. InMalcom Ross & Andrew Pawley Eds. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic 6: People: Society. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. McDowell, Nancy
    (1977) The meaning of "Rope" in a Yuat River Village. Ethnology, 16(2), 175–183. 10.2307/3773385
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3773385 [Google Scholar]
  26. Meakins, Felicity, & O’Shannessy, Carmel
    (2005) Possessing variation: Age and inalienability related variables in the possessive constructions of two Australian mixed languages. Monash University Linguistics Papers, 4(2), 43–63.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Meyerhoff, Miriam, Barth, Danielle, & Schnell, Stefan
    (2018) Vanuatu languages in the Oceanic shift from direct possession. Paper presented at theVanuatu Languages Conference, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Meyerhoff, Miriam
    (2017) Possession marking in Nkep. Wellington Working Papers in Linguistics, 23, 169–180.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Musgrave, Jill
    (2007) A grammar of Neve’ei, Vanuatu. Pacific linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Nichols, Patricia
    (1983) Linguistic options and choices for Black women in the rural South. InBarrie Thorne, Cheris Kramarae, & Nancy Henley (Eds.), Language, gender and society (pp.54–68). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Nordberg, Bengt
    (1971) En undersokning av spraket i Eskilstuna. Språkvård, 3, 7–15.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Nordberg, Bengt, & Sundgren, Eva
    (1998) On observing language change: A Swedish case study. FUMS Rapport nr. 190. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Ogawa, Naoko, & [Shibamoto] Smith, Janet
    (1997) The gendering of the gay male sex class in Japan: A preliminary case study based on Rasen no Sobyoo. InAnna Livia & Kira Hall (Eds.), Queerly phrased: Language, gender, and sexuality (pp.402–415). New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Pearce, Elizabeth
    (2015) A grammar of Unua, Volume647. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. 10.1515/9781614516590
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614516590 [Google Scholar]
  35. R Development Core Team
    R Development Core Team (2017) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. www.R-project.org/
  36. Romaine, Suzanne
    (1982) Socio-historical linguistics: Its status and methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511720130
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511720130 [Google Scholar]
  37. (2003) Variation in language and gender. InJanet Holmes & Miram Meyerhoff (Eds.), The handbook of language and gender (pp.98–118). Oxford: Blackwell. 10.1002/9780470756942.ch4
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470756942.ch4 [Google Scholar]
  38. Ross, Malcolm
    (1988) Proto Oceanic and the Austronesian languages of western Melanesia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. (2002) Takia. InJohn Lynch, Malcom Ross, & Terry Crowley, The Oceanic languages (pp.216–248). New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. San Roque, Lila, Gawne, Lauren, Hoenigman, Darja, Miller, Julia C., Rumsey, Alan, Spronck, Stef, Carroll, Alice, & Evans, Nicholas
    (2012) Getting the story straight: Language fieldwork using a narrative problem-solving task. Language Documentation & Conservation, 6, 135–174.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Scheffler, Harold
    (1978) Australian kin classification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511557590
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511557590 [Google Scholar]
  42. Schneider, Cynthia
    (2010) A grammar of Abma: A language of Pentecost Island Vanuatu. Canberra: Pacific linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Schnell, Stefan, & Barth, Danielle
    (2018) Discourse motivations for pronominal and zero objects across registers in Vera’a. Language Variation and Change, 30(1), 51–81. 10.1017/S0954394518000054
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394518000054 [Google Scholar]
  44. Strobl, Carolin, Boulesteix, Anne-Laure, Zeileis, Achim, & Hothorn, Torsten
    (2007) Bias in random forest variable importance measures: Illustrations, sources and a solution. BMC Bioinformatics, 8(25).
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Strobl, Carolin, Boulesteix, Anne-Laure, Kneib, Thomas, Augustin, Thomas, & Zeileis, Achim
    (2008) Conditional variable importance for random forests. BMC Bioinfomatics, 9(307).
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Tagliamonte, Sali A., & Baayen, R. Harald
    (2012) Models, forests, and trees of York English: Was/were variation as a case study for statistical practice. Language Variation and Change, 24(2), 135–178. 10.1017/S0954394512000129
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394512000129 [Google Scholar]
  47. Trudgill, Peter
    (1974) The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. (1983) On dialect. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Tyler, Stephen A.
    (1966) Context and variation in Koya kinship terminology. American Anthropologist, 68(3), 693–707. 10.1525/aa.1966.68.3.02a00050
    https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1966.68.3.02a00050 [Google Scholar]
  50. Z’graggen, John A.
    (1971) Classificatory and typological studies in languages of the Madang District. Pacific Linguistics Series C,19. Canberra, Australian National University.

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): classifiers; kinship; mixed-effects regression; Oceanic; possession; random forest
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error