Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Linguistic and Cuituraー

Linguistic and Cultural Times
Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
Nbtional Mtiseum of Ethnology
Seeing the subject `Time and Language' from the viewpoint of general
linguistics, languages (sound languages) are to be performed and articulated along a
temporal axis, as is said `line'arite" of linguistic sign by F. de Saussure, they connote
temporal attributes in themselves. In other words, when time is considered as an
internal component of linguistic structures, ・it can be said that a feature such as
syntactic or syntagmatic relations in opposition to paradigmatic relations of a
language is to be established on the temporal attributes. However, as was pointed
out by Y. Nagano, the symposium organizer, we ,aim at reviewing speech (langage)
from a social scientific point of view. It means that we are to discuss how lexical
and grammatical categories of time as seen in speech are related to ,human
experiences or human cultures.
By applying for the semiotic triangle of C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards (Figure
1), I examine Nagano's proposal. If concept or cognition of time (b) is confined in
how to be expressed by speech (a), it concerns merely the `speech of time.' Then it
does not go beyond the scope of internal linguistics. However, even if we end up
with a meta-linguistic explanation on the time-concerned existences of cultural
items (c) such as nature, livelihood, rituals, myths and so forth, we merely
contribute an ethnographical (anthropological) description, but do make nothing at
all for (a).' Adam's `Perceptions of Time' speaks mainly on (b) and (c).
.According to linguistic anthropology, the theme of `time and language'
Figure 1
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pursues to discuss the relqtionships between (c) and languages, particularly between
(c) and linguistic forms. For instance, a theory of interpreting time in a
confrontation between `sacred' and `profane' was proposed by Leach as an
example of temporal concept for (c). Hall differentiated doing many things at once
`polychronic,' and doing one thing at a time `monochronic,' which vary from
culture to culture (1983:46). It is required to consider how these concepts are
correlated with linguistic expressions, or whether they are correlated at .a"il.
1. Linguistic(Grammatical)Time
There are two ways to linguistically manifest temporal concepts. They are
`tense' and `aspect.' The former is indirect, conceptual (logiCal), abstract and
mathematical, whereas the latter is direct, sensory (emotional), specific and
quantitative. Aspect is a more fundamental phenomenon than tense, in that it
refers directly to whether the process under one`s eyes has been completed or not
(Izui 1967:85).
While there is a fairly large number of grammatically tenseless languages in the
world, none of them fail to possess aspect (inclUding Aktionsart) in a wide sense at
least. It becomes clear, when we look into the prehistoric development of IndoEuropean, that what was marked overtly from the beginning was aspect, and that
the conceptual steps Qf time were born afterwards as a secondary consequence of
aspectual distinctions (Comrie, 1976:83). Aspect is a fundamental concept which is
associated with verbs. J. Kurylowicz, an Indo-European comparative linguist, says,
the article is a fundamental concept to nouns as aspect is to verbs.
On the other hand, however, as is proposed by Izui, tense and aspect which are
grammatically distinguished can be also considered as an incessant continuum.
' From this viewpoint, the concept of tense such as future, present and past is not a
simple differentiati'on of temporal grades, but forms a continuum of dynamis
`dynamic,' energeia `energy' and ergon `work.' Tense is 'a live evolution
developing and centering around energeia. So far, speech is primarily performed
as energetic and vital activities.
We can find an example of most simple conceptualization of time in terms of
relationship between man and nature in Kapauku (Papuan, Irian Jaya, Indonesia),
who recognize only two seasons, namely idi uwaa `a period of rain' and awii uwaa
`a period of dry weather.' However, these Kapauku concepts refer to irregular
periods occurring at any time during the year (Pospisil 1963:159). The Galela
(Papuan, Halmahera Island, Indonesia) also'have a distinction between two
seasons, one being the season of the south wind (o musung o kore sara) and the
other the season of the north wind (o musung o kore mie). They also have six
months in the latter, which obviously came to be defined as a new concept along
with the period of rice cultivation (Yoshida 1980:92--95). There are no people in
the world who do not have a general idea of time. In this sense, one could
comfortably argue that the concept of time is, like aspect in language, the most
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
fundamental phenoMenon in human cultures.
On the other hand, it is doqbtful if the concept of time exists in complete
isolation from the internal structpre of language. Aspect which is directly
associated with the temporal attributes of a situation manifests itself as a lexical
meaning of verbs, and thus enables us to classify verbs. What is famous. along this
line of analysis is shibun-setsu (four-classified theory): status, continuity, moment
and the fourth class, which was proposed by Kindaichi (1954:27-61) as well as
Vendler (1967). Comrie called a semantic aspect of verb `inherent meaning,'
thereby distinguishing it from aspect in its genuine sense (1976:41--51).
The Hesperonesian (or Indonesian) languages of the Austronesian family are
characterized by an agglutinative type of language which has elaborate devices of
affixation. In Bahasa Indonesia, among the most basic prefixes attached to verb
stems are tgr-, mGF, bor- and e-form (affixless form), whose internal functions are to
construct an opposed system including the concept of time.
N -, L...N
N ban /
Figure 2
As is shown in Figure 2, a and tar- do not take an object, whereas mo- does.
Mo- and tor- construct an assertive $entence, whereas e- makes an imperative
sentence. I- and me- do not bear any feature referring to time, whereas tor- does.
As is clear in the figure, the distinctive features of these three aflixes can be shown in
a triangular Qpposition. Por- by itself with a emphatic function appears as complex
prefixes: por-, mompor-, and te(lr2por-, respectively. I argue that these three indices
have grammatical features such as `voice,' `Sentence' and `time,' respectively. KGF
an is located along an extension of tor-. Because bor- has a feature of middle voice
and is used for an assertive sentence, describing a temporal relationship, it is
positioned in the midst of three prefixes. The following are the examples:
e-: la tutup pin tu itu. `He closes, the door'
It should be noted that, grammatically speaking, this sentence is not equivalent
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to `He closes the door.' -
, Pintu itu ia tutup. `The door, he closes'
7'betuppintuitu. `Closethedoor.'
me-: la monutup pintu itu. `He closes the door.' .
tor-: Pintu itu tortutmp.-`The door was suddenly shut withabang.'
bor-: cangkir bortutmp `a glass with lid'
Although, in Bahasa Indonesia, neither e- nor mo- express time in particular,
one can judge `temporalite" of a sentence dependent on the context. On the other
hand, ter- indicates that an action is done accidentally, unintentionally, or without
the agent`s knowing, and involves the concept of time or qspect.
2. RealisticTime .
For a certain Melanesian of New Caledonia, the notion of time and being are
indistinguishable, therefore, he often refuses to tell a legend when he has forgotten
topographical names or the time is not right for telling it. It is because he is
situated in a `spacio-tempor'al' domain (Leenhardt 1979:83-91). This actually
endorses a point made by J. Kawada in his presentation that tense and aspect which
appeared in the mythical period were focused on a story teller's time. Time in
energeia induces a symmetric cognition.
Saki in Japanese refers to times both in future and past. Likewise, in the Nez
Perce language (Idaho, Oregon, Washington), there are a few expressions which are
used to describe a pair oftimes into both directions, namely, future and past. They
are adverbs which can mean both `yesterday' and `tomorrow,' `the day before
yesterday' and `the day after tomorrow,' `last year' and `next year,' or `long time
ago' and `in the long future' (Aoki 1976). Similar cases are found in English too,
in the way of combining some adjectives, such as `grand-' for the second
generation, `great-grand-' for the third and `great-great-grand-' for the fourth.
There is Proto-Austronesian "ompu (or *ninih) which means both `GrPa' and
`GrCh' (Wurm and Wilson 1975). , Although not presented in an exact symmetry,to what has been described in the
above, teknonymy which is being seen in the Balinese society (Indonesia) and
explained as underscoring the importance of the.marital pair which contributes to
the social regenesis (Geertz 1973:375-379), is nothing but a representation of a
cognition of energeia. '
According to Cassirer, at the first stage of the development from the feeling to
the concept of time, the consciousness is domin-ated by the opposition of `now' and
`not-now,' the former being illuminated by the light of the `present,' whereas the
latter remaining in a dark.sphere (1953:217-218), The speaker generates the
primitive cognition of the present from intuitive expression based on such
differences as now and not-now, not ' from the grammatical criterion of the present
tense. '
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
In the Kwesten language (Papuan, Irian Jaya, Indonesia), the tense suffixes
attached to the stem of verbs can indicate a few different temporal steps, and they
appear in a symmetrical way for past and future. The following exemplifies the
variations of a verb stem kwa- `go.' A nominative ending of the personal pronoun
ana- `I' does not appear in symmetry, as in -s (inidefinite, past), -n (future), or -e
(present, imperative).
kwa-nan = kwa-n
ana-e kwa-e
ana-er.kwa-nan = kwa-n
ana-n kwa-t
ana-n kwa-nt
ana-n kwa-nant
ana-s kwa:fan
(indefinite past) '
(remote past) -
(intermediate past) .
(near past)
(nearest past)
(extremely nearest past)
(indefinite, imperative)
(present) '
(extremely.nearest future) '・
.(nearest future) .
(near future) - .
(indefinite future)
From Space to Time
With regard to grammatical times, we can observe the phenomenon that a
spatial difference is reflected in a grammatical expression of tense in the Klamath
language (Oregon, the United States), where two tense-Suffixes are originally
locative (Gatschet 1890:402, 434). . As is evidenced in・this particular case, there are
quite a few examples of language in which a spatiql recognition such as location,
direction, wind direction and so on, is transposed into a temporal recognition.
That space makes a superconcept over time is not irrelevant to that space is Iocated
in a visible (intuitively-recognizable) motorial sphere. The Nuaulu (Seram Island,
Indonesia) have only one term to express distance, i.e. the one which is equivalent
to `a pace,' and short periods of time are simply measured by time -divisions
determined by the position of the sun, the moon and the stars at night (Ellen
1978:133--134). However, the language which has `the pheric distance' system
seems to belong to the minority. , -
In Fijian in Melanesia, there are a few demonstrative pronouns such as ongoo.
This term refers to space which is near the speaker, whereas ongori designates space
near the person spoken to. Further, kayaa (or ayaa) indicates space which is
distant from both the speaker and the person addressed. These pronouns can be
used also as particles"to' indicate the `present tense,' `near past' and `remote past,'
respectively. For instance, E ra lako ongoo, which involves the word for `present
tense,' means that `They are to set off very soon.'
What is important here is that a status in space can be transferred into
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cognition of time. Not only in English, but in many other languages, we can
observe phenomenon that verbs equivalent to `be' or `have' are often used as
auxiliary verbs to make a progressive form. For example, in,Japanese, aru or iru is
the counterpart to `be' in English. The former indicates that someting is in a
certain state with a conjugated form -te aru, whereas the latter an action in progress
or continuation with a from of -te iru. ・
The concepts of `old' and `new' can be used to express time in some languages.
For instance, in Bahasa Indonesia, baru is `new' and lama is `old.' The former
refers to the near past, as `just' in English, while the latter indicates continuity.
The following are specific examples:
Saya baru makan. '`I have just eaten.'
Sudah tama saya tidak makan. `I have not eaten for a long time.'
Furthermore, the words panjang `long' and pendek `short' can apply to both
space and time, which is a Phenomenon found in the Japanese language as well. In
contrast, in Fijian, although people use two different words for `long,' namely,
mbalavu for a long distance and ndendee for a long period of time, there is no such
distinction in the word for `short' between distance and-time. In both cases, teka is
applied to mean `short.'
Exactly the same phenomenon can be seen in Samoan in Polynesia too, where
there is a distinction for the word `long' between a case referring to long time leva-
leva and a case to indicate long distance `umi. However, there is no difference in
the term for `short' (pu`u). Based on these observations ofOceanic characteristics,
one can conjecture that human languages do not necessarily have a uniform
parallelism between spatial and temporal recognitions, and that the two types of
recognition are not always in symmetry.
4. Deixis of Time
In many languages, there is a commonly established phenomenon that a verb
`go' is used as an auxiliary-like verb to expre$s the near future. The following
exemplify such a case:
I'm going to see him.
.le vais te voir.
What is worth noting is that venir `come' in French is used to express the near
past, as is shown in the sentence n vient clepartir. It is not a particularly common
phenomenon in other languages, however. Rather, as exemplified in `coming' in
English, mon-datang in Bahasa Indonesia and kitaru in Japanese, they tend to refer
the near future. But, the problem is that one cannot always argue a simple
symmetry, becauSe `come' presupposes motjon toward the speaker, and `go'
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
motion away from the speaker, the former gives rise mostly `past,' and the latter
mostly to `future,' respectively (Giv6n 1973:917--918).
The future is a mere notion associated with desire, will, obligation, and
emotion (Gonda 1954:248), as `will' in English is used to make a future tense as well
as a noun. On the other hand, there are cases in which particles (prepositions) to
indicate directions are applied to indicate the future. For example, per `for' in
Italian as in Staper mangiare `He is going to eat' has the same function with akan
in Bahasa Indonesia as in la akan makan `He will eat later.' Akan is a preposition
to bring in (involve) an object as in la lupa akan J'anjinya `He forgot about his
promise.' We can find such an usage of preposition in the Chamorro language in
Micronesia as in Ha fo para un bidu `What will you do?' Para here is
etymologically a borrowing from Spanish para (same etymon as Italian per). This
evidences that the deep language contact has took place to such an extent that the
Spanish preposition acquired a grammatical functon in Chamorro.
All these linguistic expressions support the -theory that the concept of time is
closely related to deixis in the process of cognition. The problem is, however, that
even `front' and `back' do not necessarilY make a symmetry semantically. It i.s
because time is often considered to move forward. ・Even time itself can go fast, or
slow. We can call this as `moving-time' as opposed to the `moving-ego' (TraugQtt
The moving ego can appear in Japanese together with words such as saki
`forward,' mae `front' and ushiro, or ato `back.' Saki i's used in phrases such as sa
-shtikan-saki `in a few weeks,' o-saki-makkura `The future is all dark,' or issun-
saki-wa-yami `Nobody knows what may happen tomorrow.' As is clear in these
examples, saki'implies a somewhat unrealistic (irrealis) future. On the other hand,
saki also 'can mean the moving time, as shown in examples such as saki-datsu
`previous,' or saki-ototoi `two days before yesterday.' In these cases, saki points to
the past. N. Furuhashi's presentation has shown the same phenomenon found in
the ancient Japanese literature. When mae is used as the moving ego, it bears a
positive meaning, which is seen in phrases such as mae-geiki `promising prospect,'
mae-daoshi `to advance forward,' mae-muki `forward-looking,' or mae-motte `in
advance.' In contrast, ushiro or ato carries a somewhat negative sense as is shown
in ushiro-metai `to feel guilty,' ushiro"ubi `to be scorned,' ushiro-gami `lit. back
hair, to feel as if one`s heart were behind,' or ato-no-matsuri `to be too late now.'
One could argue that the opposition is related to the contrast that everything in
front (inael is visible and everything behind (Ushiro) it is.not (Traugott 1978:378).
With regard to the moving time, we have phrases such as siofun-ato `after a few
minutes,' or siofun-mae `a few minutes before.' From these examples we can
suppose that if time had a face, time would flow with his face turned to the speaker.
In Bahasa Indonesia, dalpan corresponds to mae, while bolakang to ato. The
moving time comes out in bolakang as `later.' It also makes a compound word
with -an (a suffix referring to a collection or group), namely, bolakang-an, `finally,
lately, recently,' which implies both directions of past and future centering round
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the speaker's reality, i.e. the above energeia. The moving ego in Bahasa Indonesia
appears in expressions such as minggu dopan or minggu muka `next week'(muka
`face'), or tor-(Ckojbolakang `to be placed behind,to be left behind.' However, `5
minutes later' is said dalam 5 monit `lit. within 5 minutes,' whereas `5 minutes ago'
is 5 monit yang lalu `lit. 5 minutes which have passed.'
5. Time in the Austronesian .
In this chapter my efliort will be made to inspect how cultural times to be
formed at the lexical level, especially among the Austronesian examples such as seen
in 1) vocabularies expressing time, 2) semantic change with a newly acquired
meaning, and 3) regional vocabularies appeared according to differences in natural
5.1 Day,Sun-andNight
Cultural times which are recognized at the lexical or semantic level, as was
pointed out by Nilsson's classical bobk (1920), are generally based on time
pheriomena of the heavens such as the sun, moon, stars, and the phases of nature
such as variations of climate, plant and animal life. The- Biak (Irian Jaya,
Indonesia) know the solar calendar and define March 21, i.e. Vernal Equinox Day
as the beginning of a new year, when the sun rises precisely in the east. 'This is,
however, a rather'unusual case among the Austronesians, where people hardly take
the sun as an index for time reckoning. .
As.seen in mata-hari `sun, lit. eye of day' in Bahasa Indonesia, or srgnge'nge'
`sun,' etymologically'coming from sang hyang we' `major- divinity of day' in
Javanese, the term `sun' are secondarily derived from hari `day,' or wai'or we'
`day,' the latter appearing as a compound udan we'-we' `rain while the sun is
shining.' In Fijian also `sun' is named mata-ni-singa `eyeofday.' NeXt are some
other examples: ・- '
Ilokano (Luzon, the Philippines) - adtaw `day': init `sun'.
Bontok (Luzon, the Philippines) , aLgew `day':,init `to heat, sun'
Tiruray (Mindanao, the Philippines) ' juweh `to open, day': teresang `sun':
- ' ge=kayang `(sun) well above the horizon'
Ulithian (Micronesia) . 'rddZ `day': yaal `sun'
Samoan (Polynesia) - -aso' `day': laa `sun'(<Proto-Polynesian *laqa(Z27)
. .I-
' As seen in the above examples, the origins of words for the sun and the day are
notTidentical in the Austronesian. -In Proto-Austronesian, there'is a concept of
daytime as opposed to that of night.' The former is reconstructed as "ha(njdaw
(N *qa(7NOjai40, and the-latter *bengi. There is, however, no term to represent one
whole day, or a whole day and night. Generally speaking, a day starts with the
sunset among the Austronesians. 'For example, malam minggu `Sunday night' in
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
Bahasa Indonesia is equivalent .to dayO-no-yoru `Saturday night' in Japanese or
English. In Samoan, poo `night' coming from *bongi through Proto-Polynesian
'Epoo means also fa day,' and a compound ona-poo (ona `his') becomes `times,' or
`period.'' - .
Mce Year ' - ' As for the conceptualization of seasons, as was discussed on cases of the Nuer
(Evans-Pritchard 1940:154-160), the recognition is often- dctermined by routine
diurnal activities such as livelihood, feasts, rituals and so forth, rather than by
climatic changes. - - ''
' This same trend is observable- in-the process of reckoning time in the
Austronesian as well. A term 'taqun (-- "tahun7 in Proto-Austronesian is given a
meaning such as `season' and fyear,' etc. Further, its derivative *nahun (with a
stem prenasalized) means `time' (Wurm and Wilson 1975). In Indonesian
languages, *taqun spreads over as tahun t--taun in Bahasa Indonesia, taon in
Tagalog (the Philippines), and taona in Merina (Madagascar) with a meaning of
`profane year.' On the other hand, in Oceania where rice cultivation coUld not be
introduced, there appears a semantic change as is seen in a Fijian compound hdau・ singa `famine, lit. time of continual sunshine,' or tau `season,' or `weather' in
Samoan. An Indonesian compound tahun:padi `rice year' is originate in ProtoAustronesian *taqun+ 'Epojay. It means a season from rice-crop to rice-crop. In
Proto-Austron'esian along with a proto-form *baRas `rice grain,' these terms prove
linguistically -the fact that rice cultivation was already known at the homeland.
Therefore, it is argued that *taqun means originally `rice year,' i.e. `a halfyear,' as
an element'of `rice culture complex' vocabularies. . According to N. Miyata's talk,
the unit ofthe Japanese toshi `year' also is related to the rice 4nd said to be
synonymous with the Chinese. ' - .
It should also be noted here that.the manner of counting a year in terms of a
unit of six months is.-not unique to rice cultivation only. Such an attempt can be
applied to other crops. 'For inStance, in Ikema Island (Okinawa), people pray to
gods for farming and good harvest of millet twice a year, namely,iit February called
zijrubayurusu::ytimugui and in August called zofubayurusu-kasanban. Successively,
directly after these two rituals, in -March ukadidami-yti mugui and in August
ukadidumi-kasanban (not phonetic; transliterated from katakana letters), people
also pray for a protection against strong winds. This may indicate that there was a
year reckoning which' started with October and lasted for six months, being
S previous to the modern profane calendar (Noguchi 1972:204, 221-233). But, as to
the problem of whether such a division was formed .under the infiuence of the
Austronesian culture, I would rather-limit my discussion here to pointing out
commonness between them. Among many people of Indonesia who principally engage in rice culture, the
beginning of an agricultural year is regulated traditionally by appearances of the
Pleiades and Orion. In Javanese (Indonesia), the Pleiades are called guru ddsa
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`village teacher,' and Orion wluku `spade.' It is actually Orion, whose precursor is
the Pleiades, that prescribes agricultural works. In Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesia)
people know the time for begin rice cultivation by means of the first appearance of
the tamaupaka constellation on the eastern horizon at night. For the Toraja, this
constellation is recognized as a rooster with the head of which is represented by the
Pleiades, the body by Orion and the tail by Sirius (SaitO 1940:304-320).
5.3 Root Crop Year, Sidereal Year
Since the waxing and waning of the moon is one of the most conspicuous
phenomena for mankind, it is liable to be used as a unit of time. We can say that
there is a fairly universal coganate relationship between the term for moon and
month through the world languages. Even so, it cannot be generalized as that.
Proto-Austronesian *bulan `moon, month' appears in forms such as volana in
Merina, bulan in Bahasa Indonesia, or buwan in Tagalog of Hesperonesian. In
Fijian vuta means `moon, month.' On the other hand, *bulan does not spread to
Polynesia, the terms such as masina in Samoan, or mahina in Hawaiian are derived
from a Proto-Austronesian derivative *ma-sinaR `to ray, to shine' (*ma-:an
intransitive prefix). In Proto-Trukic in Micronesia, the term for month also
derived from a Proto-Austronesian *ma-dumaR `to burn resin, to be bright during
the night,' and it is used as a means to subdivide a year.
In contrast, the sidereal year was substantially developed in the Central
Caroline Islands of Micronesia, where people relied on it in relatioh to navigation
or fishing (Akimichi 1983). For example, in Satawal Island, people can predict,
when certain stars appear and disappear, a storm rising. They recognize twentyone storm-stars, among them there are twelve stars which rise over the horizon right
before sunrise. These twelve stars are applied to distinguish twelve months
(meram) in a year (Akimichi 1980). There are not, however, necessarily twelve
groupings of stars or constellations assigned to months. The number of sidereal
months varies among the islands and the several schools of navigation
(Goodenough 1953:25). In Satawal Island, the year is called rak. This term is
widely spread in Micronesia, taking similar forms, such as rag `year, age' in
Woleaian, rag `year, age' in Ulithian, raag `year' in Carolinian of Saipan, and rak
`south, season of the southern wind from April to October' in Marshallese. A
Ponapean rahk also belongs to this cognate. ' Rahk has a connotative sense that the
season of abundant food, especially represented by breadfruit, or vast amounts of a
plant begins in the rainy months from late March to July, as opposed to the isol
season, which means f.olk etymologically `I have nothing any longer,' from August
to March including the trade-wind season named naupe'r, during which people can
no longer rely upon natural grace for abundant food (Shimizu 1982:171-176).
Rahk with a !imited meaning `breadfruit-bearing season' in Ponapean has cognates
such as roak `breadfruit season' in Mokilese, raas `breadfruit harvest season lasting
from May through August' in Trukese, and rardk `breadfruit season from June to
October, and westerly winds prevail' in Puluwat, etc.
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
Although breadfruit is the most important one to be used as a means to discern
seasons in a year, in Simbo (the Solomon Islands), the year is divided into two
seasons or years, i.e. aoro nari and aoro vino, named after two different species of
canarium nut, Canarium indicum and Canarium salomonense (Burman 1981:253).
In Oceanic cultures based on the cultivation of root crops, taro, yams, bananas,
coconuts and sago are main ones. In the Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea),
the year is subdivided into the season when the yam gardens are unripe (gegudu) and
into that when they begin to mature (matuwo) (Malinowski 1935:52). The reason
why the rest of the crops except yams is not used as time reckoning, is because most
of these can be harvested through thg year.
Actually, rak appears in Palauan, one of the Hesperonesian languages.
However, it is not clear whether the word was borrowed from other Trukic
languages or it goes back to Proto-Micronesian. In Palauan,-Micronesian rak
means not only `year, age' or `the past,' but also one of many legendary Palauan
gods who goes round the Palauan Islands over the year. Rak with a newly acquired
meaning `year' is given two seasonal distinctions such as the easterly wind (ongos)
and the westerly wind (ngobard), each of which is provided with six months (rok-il is
a possessive form of rak).
rokil ongos
rokil ngebard
Because food is scarce in the easterly wind season, people call it also morus `to
pierce,' whereas plenty of food,available in the westerly wind season is called sim
`harvest season, lucky time.' As to etymology, tmur refers to Antares (a Scorpii),
and modelab to Altair' (a Aquilae). Both terms are borrowings from Proto-Trukic
*dumwuR, *mat(ic0-ltrp(oj `lit. big eye.' Cholidmeans `god, deity,' orongodol `roof
beam,' and raud `closing,' respectively.
5.4 MarketCalendar
In Java, people have a five-day cycle called pasar-an `lit. matter of market,
market day(s),' whose names are lagi, paing, pon, wage' and kliwon. This calendar
was made on a traditional market which five villages, formed as a basic unit of the
228 , =-- -' - O. Sakiyama
economic community, opened periodically in turn (Saito 1940:317-318). Further,
a seven-day cycle called wukuh originating from India is also being used in Java,
which consists of the days: dite' -, soma, anggara, butin, reEspati, sukra and tumpak,
etymologically borrowed from Sanskrit. At the present time, they are
synonymously called in Arabic origin akad, sonon, slasa, robo, kemis) jomuwah and
sabtu, and a thirty-five-day cycle resulted from the combination of five- and sevenday periods gives a specific meanirtg to Javaricse everyday life, such as a villagp.
meeting is often held with a thirty five-day interval. A.traditional almanac called
primbon is deeply rooted in the Javanese society, to the extent that people' like to
read fortune by the sum of number assigned to each day ofpasaran and wukuh.
5.5 BiologicalCalendar -
Lesu villagers of New Ireland (Papua New Guinea) call the lst moon or month
of the Year beta, a sea-worm (Palola siciliensis, or Eunice schemacephala), which
comes out of the sea once a year on the fiood tide night between October and
November (Figure 3).- - -
' Figure 3
Further, the third moon is given a name logum discerned according to the first
coming of a land crab (Cardisoma sp.) on the shore. Difurences in carapace
patterns of the crab also provide a means to identify the fourth, fifth, sixth and
seventh months (Powdermaker 1933:290-291). In total, villagers recognize seven
months in relation to the ecological features of these marine animals.
For the Yami of LanyU (or Botel Tobago Island, Taiwan), the migratory fishes
including the most important flying-fish, provide a means to distinguish two periods
in a normal Year mangen a vilang `'short year' of twelve months. The first period of
night-time fishing begins in paneneb `neW year, `approximately in Sept-ember, The
fishing continues fo-r five months untilptyavean `about January' with .a few nights'
break inpikokaod about October (HsU 1982:5-6)r
6. SacredTime
Sacred time, as argued by Leach, manifests in human cultirres as `intetval of nb
duration,' i.e. each festival repres'ents ・・・ a temporary shift from the NormalPrpfane order of existence into the Abnormal-Sacred order and back again. As a
result, the year's progress is marked bY a sueceSSsion of festiVals (Leach 1961:134).
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia
This category of ,time is linguistically analogous as `historic present' (pre'sent absolu
or prdsent atemporeD, where the present tense is used not to refer to a past
situation, but to express universal facts trancsended the profane time. However,
we cannot say `tenseless' for a historic present, because the `present' tense
inevitably appears even in the context of the `sacred' time, which, rituals taking
place, can be explained only meta-linguistically.
For the Ngaju Dayak (Kalimantan; Indonesia), the two months between the
harvest and the resumption of work in the rice fields called helat (-helangy-nyelo
comes from Proto-Austronessian *sotang `interval' + Proto-Southeast Barito *nyitu
`rice year.' It is considered that this time is that of passing away and becoming,
and of the expiration of one period in the existence of the world and the beginning
of another. Everyone is back in the village at this time,- and the major religious
rites are celebrated (Scharer 1963:81-82, 96). During this season, people are to
leave work in the rice fields and'come back home. The Acehnese (Sumatra,
Indonesia) also have a distinction betWeen muse'm pice' -`the land is closed,' which
implies the period when rice is planted in the fields and muse'm tuaih blang `the land
is open,' i.e. the period when the land stands open to men and cattle. During the
latter period, poeple set up tomb-stones, burn limes, pierce the ears of young girls,
and other rituals (Hurgronje 1906:258-259). Muse'm pice' functions as sacred
Madagascar was settled by the oldest immigrants from Indonesia at latest AD
500, who are considered to have'-well preserved some of the ancient customs in their
ancestral'land. For example, there is a Merina word elan(oj("-elanelanoj-taona,
coming from Proto-Austronesinan *solang+*taqun, which means `gap between
years.' Madagascar has two-seasons, the rainy season from October to March, and
the dry season from April to September. During the dry season, which means a
slack season for farmers, Merina poeple take place afomadihana ritual `lit.turning
of the corpse,' a custom unique tol the High Plateau area of Madagascar. In the
Merina, a new year loha-taona `lit. headof a year,' starts with October in' the
beginning of the rainy season, from this time farmers start rice cultivation. The
end of the dry season, when the Merina tombs are dug down into the ground, is
called `small month' or asara-maimbo `stinking month.' In contrast, the
commencement of the rainy season is called `big month' or asara-manitra `fragrant
month.' There is aproverb saying that ACy andro lohataon-diavolana, ka na ny
miherika aza hitany `The beginning of a year is the time to sow in fields; don`t cry
over at yoUr harvest., i.e. Decisions made on New Year`s Day are the key to a
successfulyear'(Sakiyama1991:725-729). -. - '. ' "
Madagascar has been influenced bY Arabic cultures since about the ninth
century. As one of these cultures is the names of days and months, the -latter being
adopted on the basis of twelve constellations names found in the zodiac, which
originally are applied for telling fortunes (vintana) and indicating- geographical
directions. , ・ - .
Vintana system in Figure 4 shows that the Madagascar year starts with the
O. Sakiyama
NN v.i<
Figure 4 (Anonymous1973)
month alahamaaly `January,' which is regarded as being on the northeast corner of
the house toward the sunrise, and after circulating round the house, ends with
alohotsy `December.' As a matter of fact, this Madagascar case evidences the
recognition transformed from space to time, which I have discussed in Chapter 3.
The Austronesian languages in Micronesia, the Philippines and Taiwan have
been developed from Proto-Austronesian into those more sophisticated and
complicated grammatical structures which involve tense ahd aspect. However, it is
not yet made clear how these tense and aspect systems developed as secondary
grammatical phenomena are correlated to folk cultures, or social structures in these
regionS. Indonesians often say jom karet `rubber time' in Bahasa Indonesia by
self-scorning to not be punctual. But, nobody will not think that this expression is
interrelated with a loose grammatical structure which characterizes Bahasa
Linguistic and Cultural Times Running in Oceania and Southeast Asia 231
Although the subject of this symposium is `time and language,' I have resulted
in discussing `language of time' mainly. It should be furthermore studied to what
extent linguistic (grammatical) forms referring to time are correlated to human
action or behavior, culture symbolism, or culture pattern.
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