Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Carly J. Sommerlot, 2023. “Malayic active voice meN-: One prefix or two?.”
Presented at the Linguistic Society of Japan and the Affixes symposium, University of Turku.

The Malayic languages (Austronesian) are known for having an active/passive voice alternation, with verbs in Standard Indonesian and Malay (SI/SM) bearing a meN- active prefix or a di- passive prefix: for example, active ‘beat’: meN-pukul > memukul vs passive ‘beat’ di-pukul. Here we argue that the active prefix meN- is best analyzed as the combination of two parts — the syllabic me- and homorganic nasal N-. Such a decomposition is suggested briefly by Gil (2002) and Benjamin (2009), but has not been seriously adopted or pursued in subsequent work on Malayic languages. We show that this perspective, together with corresponding syntactic assumptions, helps us account for the attested variation in voice patterns in regional and colloquial Malayic languages.