Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
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This paper describes four patterns of variation in the subject-indexing paradigm of Vatlongos (Oceanic, Vanuatu). It explores their quantitative distribution in a corpus of monologic texts from speakers in three different communities: Mele Maat, a relocated peri-urban community; Endu, which has a distinct dialect; and Ase-Taveak, the other villages of Southeast Ambrym. Speakers in Mele Maat are more likely to use a zero variant of the third person singular Non-future prefix and shorter syllabic variants, and less likely to use the paucal number category. All three patterns suggest formal simplification in the Mele Maat community. The latter two patterns are also associated with higher levels of education, and consequent greater exposure to national and international languages. Overall these patterns suggest that changes which involve reduction of distinctions in morphological paradigms are more likely to be accelerated in contexts of language endangerment than phonological change or phonological reduction.


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