Associated motion with deictic directionals: A comparative overview

by Aicha Belkadi.

Read Dr. Belkadi’s paper here. Enjoy the following selection from its introduction:

This paper focusses on deictic directionals and their rarely discussed function as markers of Associated Motion (henceforth AM). AM is a term generally used to refer to a category of verbal affixes exhibited by a number of indigenous Australian, North American and South American languages, whose function is to indicate that the event encoded by a verb is framed with respect to a motion co-event (Koch, 1984; Wilkins, 2005; Guillaume, 2009 amongst others). The most characteristic systems of AM involve complex paradigms, where affixes are each paired with specific and quite sophisticated types of motion. Specifications may encode information about the direction and orientation of the motion event, a defined temporal relation with the verb’s event, and particular aspectual notions.

Clamor Schürmann’s Barngarla grammar

The work of the German missionaries on South Australian languages in the first half of the nineteenth century has few contemporary parallels for thoroughness and clarity. This commentary on the grammatical introduction to Pastor Clamor Schürmann’s Vocabulary of the Parnkalla language of 1844 reconstructs a significant amount of Barngarla morphology, phonology and syntax.

It should be seen as one of a number of starting points for language-reclamation endeavours in Barngarla, designed primarily for educators and other people who may wish to re-present its interpretations in ways more accessible to non-linguists, and more suited to pedagogical practice.

Read or purchase Mark Clendon’s latest opus here.

Causation in the Australian dialects Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara

Causation in the Australian dialects Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara

By Conor Pyle

This paper will look at the phenomenon of causation in two dialects of the Western Desert in Australia, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (P/Y). The grammar will be discussed under the paradigm of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG), which is intended to be able to be used globally for the description of any language. There is a continuum of causation from direct to indirect involvement, and from compact constructions to purposive or goal oriented actions. We look at lexical, morphological, and syntactic marking of causation in P/Y which has a mixed ergative/accusative and limited polysynthesis. We find that causation is shown lexically, morphologically by the use of suffixes, and syntactically by dependent subclauses. Direct causation through suffixing is linked to intransitive verbs and change of state rather than to transitive verbs. Characteristic of P/Y is the serial verb participle, which in some cases involves light verbs that imply causation.

Nominal Subclasses in Dalabon (South-western Arnhem Land)

Nominal Subclasses in Dalabon (South-western Arnhem Land)

By Maïa Ponsonnet

This paper describes a distinctive system of nominal subclasses observed in Dalabon, a non-Pama-Nyungan, Gunwinyguan language of south-western Arnhem Land, Australia. These subclasses differ from what is usually called ‘noun classes’ in Australian languages, and no such system has been described for an Australian language so far. While most Gunwinyguan languages use noun class prefixes offering an overt categorization of noun classes, Dalabon has no such prefixes. On the other hand, six semantically coherent nominal subclasses can be delineated based on four inter-related criteria—noun incorporation, boundness, obligatory possession and possessor raising. These subclasses are animate-part nouns (incorporable, strictly bound, obligatorily possessed, raising their possessors freely), kin-terms (incorporable, strictly bound, obligatorily possessed, raising their possessor when incorporated), inanimate-part nouns (incorporable, strictly bound, not obligatorily possessed), features of the landscape (incorporable, semi-bound, not obligatorily possessed), natural-kind nouns (non-incorporable) and generic nouns (incorporable free nouns). Some of the subclasses qualify as more or less inalienable. Along the way, the article discusses various aspects of Dalabon grammar such as word classes, noun incorporation and possessive constructions. The nominal subclass divisions also shed light upon some the distribution and semantics of the ubiquitous -no suffix, which remained obscure hitherto.

Number Markedness: Evidence from Gangalidda

Number Markedness: Evidence from Gangalidda

By Jessica Mathie

I present data from Gangalidda (Australia) which shows that plural is more marked than dual in this language. This challenges the claim made in Harley and Ritter (2002) that dual is universally more marked than plural. Evidence that Harley and Ritter’s claim does not hold in Gangalidda is found in the distribution of dual clitics. In clauses with two non-singular arguments, the dual clitic is able to cross-reference both dual and plural entities. Assuming a privative feature geometry, this distribution is only possible if the features of the dual clitic are a subset of those present for the plural clitic (see Mathie In prep for an analysis assuming binary features). If the dual clitic had more features, as it does in Harley and Ritter’s geometry, it could not be inserted into a plural syntactic context, since it would be overspecified. I demonstrate that the Gangalidda distribution can be accounted for by the feature geometry proposed by Cowper (2005), in which plural is more marked, and I further demonstrate that Harley and Ritter’s geometry is not able to straightforwardly capture the Gangalidda facts. Section 1 outlines the feature geometries proposed by Harley and Ritter (2002) and Cowper (2005). Section 2 presents the Gangalidda data, illustrating the contextual neutralization of dual and plural clitics. Section 3 gives a featural account of the Gangalidda system, supporting the geometry in Cowper (2005).

Split Ergativity Based on Nominal Type

Split ergativity based on nominal type

By Julie Anne Legate

This paper argues that split ergativity based on nominal type is a morphological phenomenon, not a syntactic one. We use three tests to identify the source of this type of split ergativity as morphological syncretism: (i) case agreement, (ii) syntactic ergativity, (iii) coordination. We illustrate the complex patterns of attested splits, demonstrating that analyses positing a single dichotomy (e.g. between first and second person pronouns versus all other nominals) are insufficient. A morphological syncretism analysis is provided whereby ergative case is deleted in featurally-marked contexts.

Inflectional Classes in Morphology

The Reconstruction of Inflectional Classes in Morphology

History, Method, and Pama-Nyungan (Australian) Verbs

By Harold Koch

This paper surveys the approaches that have been taken to the synchronic description of the inflectional classes of verbs of the Pama-Nyungan family of Australian languages, highlighting problems with the application of the concept of the morpheme, and the notion of “conjugation markers”. It then summarizes and critically assesses attempts to reconstruct the prehistory of Pama-Nyungan verb inflection, considering primarily the contrasting approaches of Dixon (1980, 2002) and Alpher (1990). The methodological requirements for such a reconstruction are then discussed. Finally, the proposed principles are applied first to the internal reconstruction of verbs in Walmajarri, a language of the Ngumpin-Yapa subgroup, then to the comparative reconstruction of some Pama-Nyungan (monosyllabic) verbs that display heterogeneous patterns of inflection.