The article analyzes an areal polysemy ‘earth/year’ in the languages of North America. The distribution of the trait largely coincides with the cultural region of California. Within this area, the polysemy ‘earth/year’ is attested from Molala in the north to Seri in the south. The trait in question is apparently old in Yuman, Chumashan and Yuki-Wappo, whereas Uto-Aztecan languages acquired it as a result of contact with other families. However, a number of outliers are attested outside California: languages of the Northern Plains and adjoining regions of Great Lakes (Winnebago, Lakota-Dakota, Skiri Pawnee, Menominee), Southeastern Tepehuan and Oaxaca Chontal. These may result from prehistoric migrations. Presence of this polysemy in Northern Plains languages can be connected to the eastward migration of Algonquian speakers from the Proto-Algic homeland possibly located in the Fraser River basin. The case of Southeastern Tepehuan is possibly due to prehistoric contacts between Proto-Tepiman and Yuman languages, with the subsequent southward migration of Southeastern Tepehuan speakers. Oaxaca Chontal belongs to a hypothetical Hokan family, whose other branches are located in California. Moreover, Oaxaca Chontal word for ‘earth/year’ is cognate to words with the same meaning in Yuman and Seri.
This paper explores the social stratification of Maldivian society, with particular focus on its history and traces of earlier alleged caste systems and slavery as well as their impact on Maldivian society, and the implications this fact had for their social structure. I will argue that some anthropologically remarkable traces of earlier social stratification, such as slavery and the caste system, can still be found on the islands. The same holds true for the social structure of the island Minicoy, part of the Sultanate Maldives until the beginning of the 16th century, which now belongs to India. I will demonstrate that while the middle castes have largely disappeared, the upper level of the caste hierarchy (which has survived in the local elite), the lower castes and certain groups of former slaves have been much more resistant to social developments and structural changes in the society.