This dissertation presents an analysis of the morphosyntax of Wangka, a dialect of Rembong-Riung, a language spoken in west-central Flores in eastern Indonesia. Wangka is spoken by about 5,000 people in three villages, while the Rembong-Riung language is spoken by about 40,000-50,000 people in total spread out over three regencies on the northern coast of west-central Flores. The work was based on extensive fieldwork undertaken over a period of more than a year. It is divided into twelve chapters, with the first chapter being an introductory one and the last one a conclusionary one.
In chapter two, the work also includes a detailed analysis of the subgroupings of the Austronesian languages in the region, from the two main linkages, Manggaraiic and Central Flores, to internal classification of Manggaraiic. It argues that pace Verheijen (1977) Rembong should be seen as a part of the Manggaraiic linkage network. Furthermore, defining features for all dialects of Rembong-Riung are offered. Wangka has a number of unique features making it stand out from the language varieties in the region, such as the use of a polite first person singular pronoun, the loss of the nasal in a homorganic cluster of nasal and voiceless plosive (Wangka > Waka), and several lexical innovations exclusive to Wangka.
Chapter three introduces the phonological system of Wangka, with discussion of several phonological issues such as glottalisation of vowels, the phonemic status of the schwa, and the phonotactics of the language. Finally the orthographic system of the language is laid out. After comparing the various orthographies that have been used to write Wangka, the proposal of an orthography that has been worked out in cooperation with the language community is presented.
Chapter four presents the various morphological processes used in Wangka, from reduplication, compounding, cliticisation and affixation. Overall, the degree of morphological complexity in Wangka is low, which is typical for Flores languages, but totally out of character for Austronesian languages overall.
Chapters five and six discuss the major and minor word classes that can be posited for Wangka. First the question is addressed whether the major word classes of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs can be posited in Wangka, and then a number of functional categories such as pronouns, prepositions, quantifiers, predicate operators, conjunctions, final particles and interjections are discussed.
Chapters seven and eight present the structure of the noun phrase and the verbal complex in Wangka. With the former, the important role nominalised clauses play is discussed as well, and with the latter, the function of various tense, aspect and mood (TAM) markers as well as adverbs and negators is explained.
Chapters nine and ten discuss the important syntactic issues of predicate structures and voice. The argument structure of different types of predicates is discussed as well as grammatical relations. With regard to voice, the most important phenomenon in Wangka is a construction known as the le construction, where the agent phrase is marked with a preposition le, but the verb stem remains unmarked. There is a debate about whether this type of construction can be regarded as a passive construction or as a patient focus construction which is common in many Austronesian languages. It is argued in this dissertation that while the construction shares some characteristics of both, it probably still reflects the remnants of a focus system in the language whose corresponding morphosyntactic markings have disappeared almost without a trace.
Chapter eleven discusses the spatial markers which are prevalent in the languages of the region. There are three types of spatial markers: basic spatial makers which express locative relations according to the degree of proximity to the speaker (`here, there’); intrinsic spatial markers expressing various locative relations within a frame of reference relative to an entity (`above, below’), and geocentric spatial markers that operate within a geographic frame of reference, usually within the cardinal directions. However, the geographic spatial markers can also be used in a landmark-oriented frame of reference within an intermediate distance of up to 20km.