Aims and Objectives/Purpose/Research Questions: The Alorese in eastern Indonesia are an Austronesian community who have inhabited two Papuan-speaking islands for approximately 600 years. Their language presents a paradox: contact with the neighbouring Papuan languages has led to both complexification and simplification. This article argues that these opposite outcomes of contact result from two distinct scenarios, and formulates a hypothesis about a shift in multilingual patterns in Alorese history. Design/Methodology/Approach: To formulate a hypothesis about the discontinuity of multilingual patterns, this article first sketches the past and present multilingual patterns of the Alorese by modelling language contact outcomes in terms of bilingual optimisation strategies. This is followed by a comparison of the two scenarios to pinpoint similarities and differences. Data and Analysis: Previous research shows that two types of contact phenomena are attested in Alorese: (a) complexification arising from grammatical borrowings from Papuan languages, and (b) morphological simplification. The first change is associated with prolonged child bilingualism and is the result of Papuan-oriented bilingual strategies, while the latter change is associated with adult second language (L2) learning and is the result of universal communicative strategies. Findings/Conclusions Complexification and simplification are the results of two different layers of contact. Alorese was first used in small-scale bilingual communities, with widespread symmetric multilingualism. Later, multilingualism became more asymmetric, and the language started to undergo a simplification process due to the considerable number of L2 speakers. Originality: This article is innovative in providing a clear case study showing discontinuity of multilingual patterns, supported by linguistic and non-linguistic evidence. Significance/Implications: This article provides a plausible explanation for the apparent paradox found in Alorese, by showing that different outcomes of contact in the same language are due to different patterns of acquisition and socialisation. This discontinuity should be taken into account by models of language contact.

Multilingualism in eastern Indonesia: linguistic evidence of a shift from symmetric to asymmetric multilingualism

F. R. Moro
Primo
2021

Abstract

Aims and Objectives/Purpose/Research Questions: The Alorese in eastern Indonesia are an Austronesian community who have inhabited two Papuan-speaking islands for approximately 600 years. Their language presents a paradox: contact with the neighbouring Papuan languages has led to both complexification and simplification. This article argues that these opposite outcomes of contact result from two distinct scenarios, and formulates a hypothesis about a shift in multilingual patterns in Alorese history. Design/Methodology/Approach: To formulate a hypothesis about the discontinuity of multilingual patterns, this article first sketches the past and present multilingual patterns of the Alorese by modelling language contact outcomes in terms of bilingual optimisation strategies. This is followed by a comparison of the two scenarios to pinpoint similarities and differences. Data and Analysis: Previous research shows that two types of contact phenomena are attested in Alorese: (a) complexification arising from grammatical borrowings from Papuan languages, and (b) morphological simplification. The first change is associated with prolonged child bilingualism and is the result of Papuan-oriented bilingual strategies, while the latter change is associated with adult second language (L2) learning and is the result of universal communicative strategies. Findings/Conclusions Complexification and simplification are the results of two different layers of contact. Alorese was first used in small-scale bilingual communities, with widespread symmetric multilingualism. Later, multilingualism became more asymmetric, and the language started to undergo a simplification process due to the considerable number of L2 speakers. Originality: This article is innovative in providing a clear case study showing discontinuity of multilingual patterns, supported by linguistic and non-linguistic evidence. Significance/Implications: This article provides a plausible explanation for the apparent paradox found in Alorese, by showing that different outcomes of contact in the same language are due to different patterns of acquisition and socialisation. This discontinuity should be taken into account by models of language contact.
Complexification; simplification; multilingualism; language contact; small-scale community; Austronesian, Papuan
Moro, F. R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/2125986
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