• Documentation of Western Pantar (Lamma) an endangered language of Pantar Island, NTT, Indonesia

      Holton, Gary (Lembaga Ilmu Pengatahun Indonesia [ = Indonesian Academy of Sciences], 2007-06-27)
      This research project carried out linguistic documentation of Western Pantar, an endangered Papuan language spoken on Pantar Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur. The primary product of this research is an annotated corpus of audio and video recordings covering a range of genre and speech styles. All field data has been archived digitally following current best practice recommendations. Secondary products include a tri-lingual dictionary and a reference grammar. The use of aligned text and audio and the publication of a media corpus will ensure the future researchers have maximal access to original field data. The Pantar region remains one of the least documented linguistic areas in Indonesia, and almost no documentary information has previously been available for Western Pantar and many of the other non-Austronesian languages of Pantar. Through the use of best-practice language documentation techniques to create an enduring record of the language, the documentation produced by this project will broadly impact linguistic science, providing crucial typological data from a little-known part of the world’s linguistic landscape. Furthermore, through close collaboration with indigenous language workers and the development of Indonesian language reference materials, this project has contributed to the continued maintenance and appreciation of the Western Pantar language.
    • Internal classification of the Alor-Pantar language family using computational methods applied to the lexicon

      Robinson, Laura C.; Holton, Gary (Brill, 2012)
      The non-Austronesian languages of Alor and Pantar in eastern Indonesia have been shown to be genetically related using the comparative method, but the identified phonological innovations are typologically common and do not delineate neat subgroups. We apply computational methods to recently-collected lexical data and are able to identify subgroups based on the lexicon. Crucially, the lexical data are coded for cognacy based on identified phonological innovations. This methodology can succeed even where phonological innovations themselves fail to identify subgroups, showing that computational methods using lexical data can be a powerful tool supplementing the comparative method.
    • Reassessing the wider genetic affiliations of the Timor-Alor-Pantar languages

      Robinson, Laura C.; Holton, Gary (2012)
      The wider genealogical affiliations of the Timor-Alor-Pantar languages have been the subject of much speculation. These languages are surrounded by unrelated Austronesian languages, and attempts to locate related languages have focused on Papuan languages 800 km or more distant. In this paper we examine three hypotheses for genealogical relatedness, drawing on both pronominal and especially lexical evidence. We rely in particular on recent reconstructions of proto-Alor-Pantar vocabulary. Of the hypotheses evaluated here, we find the most striking similarities between TAP and the West Bomberai family. However, we conclude that the evidence currently available is insufficient to confirm a genealogical relationship with West Bomberai or any other family, and hence, TAP must be considered a family-level isolate.
    • Report on Recent Linguistic Fieldwork on Pantar Island, Eastern Indonesia

      Holton, Gary (National Science Foundation, 2004)
      This paper describes linguistic fieldwork on the Nedebang and Western Pantar (Lamma) languages undertaken June-August, 2004 under the auspices of NSF grant #0404884 SGER: Exploratory Fieldwork with the Nedebang Language of Eastern Indonesia. As such it is not intended as a linguistic description of the language s of themselves. See my reports Preliminary Notes on the Nedebang Language and Preliminary Notes on the Western Pantar Language for more information on the languages themselves.