LWM 195: First steps towards a grammar of Makasae

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First steps towards a grammar of Makasae

A language of East Timor

Juliette Huber
University of Leiden

Makasae is a non-Austronesian / Papuan language spoken by a population of some 70,000 in the newly independent state of East Timor. Because of its long history of occupation and civil war, the nation’s languages are so far sparsely documented. The present work is the first Makasae grammar description to be published in English.

Makasae is largely isolating in structure, and its grammar has in many respects assimilated to that of its Austronesian neighbours. Its defining Papuan features are the vocabulary and the characteristic SOV word order. The present monograph gives a phonology sketch and a description of some morphological processes, but focuses on the syntax. Of special interest is the marking of grammatical roles, through which some degree of syntactic flexibility from the otherwise rigid SOV word order is achieved. The linguistic analysis is copiously illustrated with examples and is complemented by a story transcript.

Juliette Huber graduated in general linguistics from the university of Zurich, Switzerland, in 2005 – the present work is a revised form of her MA thesis. She is currently taking a PhD at the university of Leiden, Netherlands, where she is working on a descriptive grammar of Makalero, the closest linguistic relative of Makasae.

ISBN 9783895861406. Languages of the World/Materials 195. 122pp. 2008.

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