Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



At least three types of sound change (prenasalization of obstruents, lenition of obstruents, conversion of labial consonants to the corresponding labiovelars) are widespread in the Austronesian language family as sporadic innovations. What marks these off as different from more familiar types of irregularity is their repeated occurrence across hundreds of related languages, a phenomenon that can conveniently be called “pandemic irregularity.” All attempts to find an explanation for why pandemic irregularities occur in terms of possibly unrecognized affixation, conditioning, borrowing, or unfinished processes, have proven futile. In particular, it is stressed that pandemic irregularity in sound change is fundamentally different from “lexical diffusion”, and deserves to be recognized in its own right as a process that works against the general application of the regularity hypothesis.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Adelaar, K. Alexander
    1992Proto-Malayic: The Reconstruction of its Morphology and Parts of its Lexicon and Morphology. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (PL C-119).
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bender, Byron W., Ward H. Goodenough, Frederick H. Jackson, Jeffrey C. Marck, Kenneth L. Rehg, Ho-min Sohn, Stephen Trussel & Judith W. Wang
    2003 Proto-Micronesian Reconstructions – 1. Oceanic Linguistics42.1–110.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Blust, Robert
    1981 Some remarks on labiovelar correspondences in Oceanic languages. Studies in Pacific Languages and Cultures in Honour of Bruce Biggsed. byJim Hollyman & Andrew Pawley, 229–253. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. 1996 The Neogrammarian hypothesis and pandemic irregularity. The Comparative Method Reviewed: Regularity and Irregularity in Language Changeed. byMark Durie & Malcolm Ross, 135–156. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. 2013 [2009]The Austronesian Languages. 2nd ed.Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics Open Access Monographs. https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/10191/6/Blust-2013-AustronesianLanguages.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 2020 The resurrection of Proto-Philippines. Oceanic Linguistics58.153–256. 10.1353/ol.2019.0008
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2019.0008 [Google Scholar]
  7. Blust, Robert, and Stephen Trussel
    . 2020. Austronesian Comparative Dictionary. (https://trussel2.com/acd/).
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dempwolff, Otto
    1920Die Lautentsprechungen der indonesischen Lippenlaute in einigen anderen austronesischen Südseesprachen. Habilitationsschrift at the University of Hamburg. Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen Sprachen, Supplement 2. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. 1934–1938 3vols. Vergleichende Lautlehre des austronesischen Wortschatzes. Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen, Supplement 1. Induktiver Aufbau einer indonesischen Ursprache (1934), Supplement 2. Deduktive Anwendung des Urindonesischen auf austronesische Einzelsprachen (1937), Supplement 3. Austronesisches Wörterverzeichnis (1938) Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. 1938Vergleichende Lautlehre des austronesischen Wortschatzes, Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen Sprachen. Supplement 3. Austronesisches Wörterverzeichnis. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Durie, Mark & Malcolm Ross
    (eds.) 1996The Comparative Method Reviewed: Regularity and Irregularity in Language Change. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Dyen, Isidore
    1963 Why phonetic change is regular. Language39.631–637. 10.2307/411958
    https://doi.org/10.2307/411958 [Google Scholar]
  13. Gensler, Orin
    1999 Review of Durie & Ross. Journal of Linguistics35.608–617.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Hockett, Charles F.
    1965 Sound change. Language41.185–215. 10.2307/411873
    https://doi.org/10.2307/411873 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hoenigswald, Henry
    1950 The principal step in comparative grammar. Language26. 357–364. 10.2307/409730
    https://doi.org/10.2307/409730 [Google Scholar]
  16. 1999 Review of Durie & Ross. Diachronica16.165–176. 10.1075/dia.16.1.11hoe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.16.1.11hoe [Google Scholar]
  17. Lynch, John
    2002 The Proto-Oceanic labiovelars: Some new observations. Oceanic Linguistics41.310–362. 10.1353/ol.2002.0009
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2002.0009 [Google Scholar]
  18. Nichols, Johanna
    1996 The comparative method as heuristic. The Comparative Method Reviewed: Regularity and Irregularity in Language Changeed. byMark Durie & Malcolm Ross, 39–71. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Reid, Lawrence A.
    1982 The demise of Proto-Philippines. Papers from the Third International Conference on Austronesian Linguisticsed. byAmran Halim, Lois Carrington & S. A. Wurm, vol.2.201–216. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (PL C-75).
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Ross, Malcolm
    1988Proto Oceanic and the Austronesian Languages of Western Melanesia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (PL C-98).
    [Google Scholar]
  21. 1990 Proto-Oceanic consonant grade and Milke’s *nj. VICAL-I: Papers from the Fifth International Conference on Austronesian Linguisticsed. byRay Harlow & Robin Hooper, PartII, 433–495. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Ross, Malcolm, Andrew Pawley, and Meredith Osmond
    (eds.) 2011The Lexicon of Proto Oceanic, The Culture and Environment of Ancestral Oceanic Society, 4: Animals. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics (PL 621).
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Schuchardt, Hugo
    1885Über die Lautgesetze: gegen die Junggrammatiker. Berlin: Oppenheim.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Wang, William S-Y.
    1969 Competing changes as a cause of residue. Language45.9–25. 10.2307/411748
    https://doi.org/10.2307/411748 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

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