|Timor and neighboring islands|
|Linguistic classification||Trans–New Guinea or independent language family|
Holton and Klamer (2018) classify Timor–Alor–Pantar as an independent language family, as they did not find convincing links with Trans-New Guinea. Usher (2020) finds them to be one of three branches of the West Bomberai family within Trans–New Guinea, with regular sound correspondences.
The languages are demonstrably related, with the Alor–Pantar languages forming a distinct subgroup. The following conservative classification is from Ross (2005), Schapper et al. (2012), and Holton et al. (2012).
The list given above is conservative, without any undemonstrated groups.
Bunak and the Alor–Pantar languages are sometimes grouped together as "West Timor", while Bunak and East Timor have been grouped as "Timor–Kisar". Although the Alor–Pantar languages are clearly related, as are the Timor–Kisar languages and the two groups to each other, until comparative work is done on all languages simultaneously it will not be clear whether Bunak is closer to East Timor or to Alor–Pantar, or whether Alor–Pantar is a valid node. Kaiping and Klamer (2019), though, found Bunak to be the most divergent Timor-Alor-Pantar language, splitting off before East Timor and Alor-Pantar did.
Despite their geographic proximity, the Papuan languages of Timor are not closely related, and demonstration of a relationship between any of them is difficult, apart from the clearly related Alor–Pantar languages on the islands neighboring Timor.
Arthur Capell first proposed that the Timor languages were a family in 1941, and Watuseke & Anceaux did the same for Timor–Alor–Pantar in 1973. Both units have been broken up in more recent classifications, though their ultimate relationship is generally accepted.
In 1957 HKL Cowan linked the Timor languages to the West Papuan family. However, when Stephen Wurm expanded Trans–New Guinea in 1975, he decided Timor–Alor–Pantar belonged there, and he linked it to the South Bird's Head languages in a South Bird's Head – Timor–Alor–Pantar branch of that phylum. Wurm noted similarities with West Papuan, a different family, but suggested this was due to substratum influence.
Ross (2005) classifies Timor–Alor–Pantar with the West Bomberai languages, the two groups forming a branch within West Trans–New Guinea. Based on a careful examination of new lexical data, Holton & Robinson (2014) find little evidence to support a connection between TAP and TNG. However, Holton & Robinson (2017) concedes that a relationship with Trans-New Guinea and West Bomberai in particular is the most likely hypothesis, though they prefer to leave it unclassified for now.
Usher (2020) finds that the Timor–Alor–Pantar fit within the West Bomberai languages, as a third branch of that family, and has begun to reconstruct the West Bomberai protolanguage as the ancestor of Timor–Alor–Pantar, as well as proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar itself.
The Timor–Alor–Pantar languages have been in considerable contact with these Austronesian languages:
- Kawaimina languages (Kairui, Waima’a, Midiki, Naueti)
- Kisar–Luangic languages (Kisar / Meher, Leti, Luang, possibly also Makuva)
|Reconstruction of||Timor–Alor–Pantar languages|
p t k b d g m n f s h w j l, r, ʀ
Usher (2020) reconstructs a somewhat different inventory:
p t ts k kʷ b d dz g gʷ m n s w j l, r
*l and *r do not occur initially in native words.
Usher reconstructs the vowels as *i *u [*e] [*o] *a *ɒ (where it's not clear that *e, *o were phonemically distinct) and the diphthong *ai.
Heston reconstructs the vowels *a, *e, *i, *o, *u, and *ə.
Heston also proposes that Proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar had penultimate stress when the penultimate and final syllables were both light, and final stress when the final syllable was heavy.
Proto-Timor–Alor–Pantar pronouns as reconstructed by Ross (2005) are:
sg pl 1excl *ani~na *ini 1incl *api 2 *ai *i 3 *ga (*gi)
Usher (2020) reconstructs the free and bound forms of the pronouns as:
sg pl 1excl *an, *na- *in, *ni- 1incl *ap, *? 2 *a, *a- *i, *i- 3 *ga, *ga- *gi, *gi-
These have regular paradigms, with suffixes *-i and *-u on the bound forms, so for example 1sg is free *an, direct object and inalienable possessor *na-, locative, ergative and alienable possessor *nai, and dative *nau.
Ross (2005) suggest these pronouns reflect proto-Trans–New Guinea 1st person *na, *ni and 2nd person *ga, *gi, and possibly the pTNG dual/inclusive *-pi-. The objection has been raised that this requires positing a "flip-flop" in which proto-TNG second-person pronouns correspond to proto-TAP third-person pronouns. Usher however establishes that proto–West Bomberai initial *k was lost from proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar (for example, proto-WB *kina 'eye', *kira 'water' and *kena[t] 'see' correspond to proto-TAP *ina, *ira and *ena), and that the proto–West Bomberai pronouns 2sg *ka and 2pl *ki, inherited from proto–Trans–New Guinea, correspond regularly to proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar *a and *i, while the proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar third-person pronouns *ga and *gi do not correspond to the rest of West Bomberai (or Trans–New Guinea) and are only coincidentally similar to the reconstructed proto-TNG second-person pronouns.
Schapper, et al. (2017)
- proto-Timor-Alor-Pantar reconstructions (Schapper, et al. 2017)
gloss proto-Timor-Alor-Pantar proto-Alor-Pantar proto-Timor bamboo *mari *mari *mari banana *mugul *mogol *mugu bark, call *lVu *le(k)u(l) bat *madel *madel *maTa bathe *weLi *weli *weru bird *(h)adul *(a)dVl *haDa bite *ki(l) *(ta)ki *(ga)gel blood *waj *wai *waj bone *se(r, R) *ser *(se)sa(r, R) breast *hami *hami *hami child *-uaQal *-uaqal *-al clew *ma(i)ta(r) *maita *matar coconut *wata *wata *wa(t, D)a crawl *er *er *er crouch *luk(V) *luk(V) *luk die *mV(n) *min(a) *-umV dirty *karV(k) *karok *gari dream *(h)ipar *hipar *ufar(ana) ear *-waRi *-uari *-wali eat *nVa *nai *nua excrement *(h)at(V) *has *a(t, D)u face *panu *-pona *-fanu far *le(t, d)e *lete *eTar fire *hada *hada *haTa fish *habi *habi *hapi flat *tatok *tatok *tetok garden *magad *magad(a) *(u, a)mar girl *pan(a) *pon *fana give *-(e, i)na *-ena *-inV grandparent *(t, d)ama *tam(a, u) *moTo green *lugar *(wa)logar *ugar hand *-tan(a) *-tan *-tana hear *mage(n) *magi *mage(n) inside *mi *mi *mi itchy *iRak *(i)ruk *ilag laugh *jagir *jagir *jiger leg *buta *-bat *buta low *po *po *ufe mat *bit *bis *biti meat *isor *iser *seor moon *hur(u) *wur *huru mountain *buku *buku *bugu name *-en(i, u) *-nej new *(t, s)iba(r) *siba(r) *(t, s)ipa(r) new place *lan *lan *lan nose *-mVN *-mim *-muni one *nukV *nuk *uneki other *abe(nVC) *aben(VC) *epi Pterocarpus indicus *matar *matar *ma(t, D)ar path *jega *jega *jiga person *anV(N) *anin *anu pig *baj *baj *baj pound *tapa(i) *tapai *tafa price *boL *bol *bura rain *anu(r, R) *anur *ine(r, R) rat *dur(a) *dur *Dura ripe *tena *tena *tena run *tipar *tiara *tifar scorpion *pV(r, R) *pVr *fe(r, R)e scratch *karab *karab *gabar sea *tam(a) *tam *mata shark *sibar *sib(a, i)r *supor sit *mit *mis *mit six *talam *talam *tamal sleep *tia(r) *tia *tia(r) spit *puRV(n) *purVn *fulu(k, n) spoon *suRa *surV *sula stand *nat(er) *nate(r) *nat star *jibV *jibV *ipi(-bere) stone *war *war *war sugarcane *ub(a) *huːba *upa sun *wad(i, u) *wadi *waTu taboo *palu(l, n) *palol *falu(n) tail *-oRa *-ora *-ula(ʔ) tongue *-lebuR *-lebur *-ipul tooth *-wasin *-uasin *-wasin tree *hate *tei *hate vagina *-ar(u) *-ar *-aru wake *tan(i) *-ten *Tani walk (1) *lak(Vr) *laka *lagar walk (2) *lamV *lam(ar) *male water *jira *jira *ira weave *sine(N) *sine(N) *sina yellow *bagur(V) *bagori *gabar 1pi *pi *pi- *fi 1sg *na- *na- *n- 3 *gie *ge *gie 3poss *ga- *ga- *g-
Some lexical reconstructions by Usher (2020) are:
gloss Proto-Timor-Alor Bunaq Proto-East Timor Proto-Alor-Pantar Proto-Alor-Pantar (Schapper et al.) head/hair *dzage hair of head *dagu ear *ˈwali[k] hol *wali[k] *wari *-waRi eye *ina *ina *ina – nose *muni[k] *muni[k] *muni – tooth *ˈwasin -we *wasin *wasin *-wasin tongue -up *ibul *lebur *-lebuR foot/leg *iˈdi -iri *idi – blood *waⁱ[s] ho *waⁱ[s] *waⁱ *waj bone *s[a/o]p[a/o] peel/skin *pasu *pasu *pasu – breast *ami -omoʔ *ami *ami *hami louse *amin *amin *amin – dog *ˈj[a]bar zap *[dz/j]ebar *jabar *dibar bird *ˈadz[o]l hos *adza *adol *(h)adul egg *ˈudu -ut *udu [*uTa] tree *at[eⁱ] *ate *at[eⁱ] *hate man/male *nami *nami – woman *tubur *tubur – sun *ˈwadu hot *wadu *wadu *wad(i,u) water *ˈira il *ira *ira *jira fire *aˈda hoto *ada *ada *ada stone *war hol *war *w[o]r *war path *ˈ[ja]gal hik *iga[r] *jagal *jega name *naⁱ -ni *naⁱ *naⁱ [*nei] eat/drink *nawa *nawa *naː *nVa one *uˈkani uen *ukani – two *age
Pawley and Hammarström (2018) list the following probable reflexes of Proto-Timor-Alor-Pantar (pTAP) and proto-Alor-Pantar (pAP; reconstructions drawn from Holton and Klamer 2018) from proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG; reconstructions from Pawley and Hammarström 2018).
- pTNG = proto-Trans New Guinea, pTAP = proto-Timor-Alor-Pantar, pAP = proto-Alor-Pantar
- pTNG *am(i,u) ‘breast’ > pTAP *hami ‘breast’
- pTNG *na ‘eat’ > pTAP *nVa ‘eat, drink’
- pTNG *ata ‘excrement’ > pTAP *(h)at(V) ‘excrement’
- pTNG *kumV- ‘die’ > pTAP *mV(n), pAP *min(a) ‘die’, pTimor *-mV ‘die’
- pTNG *inda ‘tree, wood’ > pTAP *hate ‘fire, wood’
- pTNG *panV > pTAP *pan(a) ‘girl’
- pTNG *nan(a,i) ‘older sibling’ > pAP *nan(a) ‘older sibling’
- pTNG *me ‘come’ > pAP *mai ‘come’
- pTNG *mundu ‘nose’ > pTAP *mVN ‘nose’
- pTNG *tukumba[C] ‘short’ > pAP *tukV ‘short’
- pTNG *ŋgatata ‘dry’ > pAP *takata
- pTNG *(m,mb)elak ‘lightning’ > Blagar merax, Retta melak ‘lightning’
However, Holton and Robinson (2014) classify Timor-Alor-Pantar as an independent language family, rather than as part of Trans-New Guinea.
- New Guinea World, West Bomberai
- Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian (2018). "The Papuan languages of East Nusantara and the Bird's Head". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 569–640. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.
- Holton, Gary; Klamer, Marian; Kratochvíl, František; Robinson, Laura C.; Schapper, Antoinette (2012). "The historical relation of the Papuan languages of Alor and Pantar". Oceanic Linguistics. 51 (1): 87–122. doi:10.1353/ol.2012.0001. hdl:1887/18594. S2CID 54756537.
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- Timothy Usher, New Guinea World, Proto–Timor–Alor–Pantar
- LexiRumah (part of the Lesser Sunda linguistic databases)
- Reconstructing the past through languages of the present: the Lesser Sunda Islands
- The Languages of East Timor: Some Basic Facts (Revised 24.8.2004) Geoffrey Hull