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Reconstructing contact between Alor and Timor: Evidence from language and beyond

Schapper, Antoinette; Wellfelt, Emilie

Despite being separated by a short sea-crossing, the neighbouring islands of Alor and Timor in south-eastern Wallacea have to date been treated as separate units of linguistic analysis and possible linguistic influence between them is yet to be investigated. Historical sources and oral traditions bear witness to the fact that the communities from both islands have been engaged with one another for a long time. This paper brings together evidence of various types including song, place names and lexemes to present the first account of the interactions between Timor and Alor. We show that the groups of southern and eastern Alor have had long-standing connections with those of north-central Timor, whose importance has generally been overlooked by historical and linguistic studies.

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