Phalanger facts: Notes on Blust's marsupial reconstructions

Antoinette Schapper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This squib reexamines the evidence for Blust's reconstruction of *kandoRa 'cuscus' and *mans(ae{schwa})r 'bandicoot' to the ancestor of the putative Central- Eastern Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian family. I argue that the reconstructions are problematic, being unable to account for the distribution and semantics of reflexes in the Austronesian languages in eastern Indonesia. Examining data from Austronesian and Papuan languages in this region, I consider alternative histories for marsupial terms involving independent innovations, semantic shifts, and diffusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-272
Number of pages15
JournalOceanic Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


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