Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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This article is a suggested explanation for the multiple variants of the forms of some Malayo-Polynesian pronouns that have been characterized as the result of drift. The explanation that is given is referred to here as paradigmatic instability, a phenomenon not previously discussed with reference to these problems. In the cases discussed in this article it is the avoidance of forms that are semantically or pragmatically inappropriate within the context of the paradigm in which they occur which renders the forms morphologically variable and the paradigms in which they occur unstable. In Malayo-Polynesian languages, it is the avoidance of a form that is reconstructed as a plural pronoun in Proto-Austronesian but which in all Malayo-Polynesian daughter languages is found as a singular pronoun. Where this form is retained as part of some other plural forms, it has been lost or modified in a wide range of variants in the daughter languages.


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