Volume 38, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Reflexes of the Proto-Oceanic common noun marker *na are found throughout the Oceanic language family. In Mavea, there is a morpheme na but it no longer partakes in the determiner system and is best analyzed synchronically as a preposition. This paper argues that today’s preposition is a reflex of the Proto-Oceanic common noun marker *na. Locative constructions are shown to provide a critical context conducive to the reanalysis of *na. Reanalysis has long been established as a mechanism of syntactic change, yet the factors motivating it remain a matter for debate. The dominant view is that reanalysis is driven by pragmatic factors. A rarely voiced view is that it is driven by structural requirements. The data adduced in this paper lend support to a model of syntactic change which can be structure-preserving in nature.


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