nanguy 'pig' in Akit

David Gil gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Thu Jun 3 15:38:36 UTC 2010


No ideas to offer; just a note that I observed a nearly identical form 
in the Melayu Orang Asli from nearby Pulau Bengkalis, Pulau Padang and 
mainland Sumatra opposite these two islands. (I recorded it as /nangoy/ 
rather than /nanguy,/ but I couldn't guarantee that's a real difference 
rather than different ears hearing the same form.) I searched for 
possible cognates in Aslian and Andaman Island languages but didn't come 
up with anything; maybe somebody else might ...



> Greetings,
> I’m taking a look at a book on the (Malayic) Akit speech variety 
> (Rupat Island, Riau Coast, Sumatra, Indonesia). Although it is a 
> fairly straightforward Malay variety, not too weird lexically, 
> phonologically or morphologically, one word really threw me: /nanguy/ 
> ‘pig’. PMP */nanguy/ ‘swim’ comes immediately to mind (cf. also PMP 
> */babuy/ ‘pig’). Now Malayic innovated all PMP -*/uy/ diphthongs to 
> /i/, e.g. /babi/ ‘pig’, etc.
> I do not see any phonological innovations in Akit which could have 
> produced such a diphthong, but neither can I imagine a semantic path 
> from a possibly pre-Malayic, substratal /nanguy/ ‘swim’ to ‘pig’.
> All that comes to me is Flo in the 70’s sitcom Mel, saying, “When pigs 
> fly!”
> Any ideas?
> Thanks,
> Karl Anderbeck
> National University of Malaysia
> Reference: Umar, Said Mahmud, T. Nontel, Pang Cik, Burhan Yunus. 1991. 
> /Struktur Bahasa Akit/. Jakarta: Pusat Bahasa.
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David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
Email: gil at

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