A Grammar of Wardaman: A Language of the Northern Territory by Merlan, Francesca C.

By Merlan, Francesca C.

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Additional resources for A Grammar of Wardaman: A Language of the Northern Territory of Australia

Example text

Capell (1962) published a paradigm of the Wardaman transitive prefix combinations as part of his work on "pronominalization" in Australian languages. A very large number of the prefix forms given by Capell are inaccurate. Though it is pointless to run through a catalogue of discrepancies here, an important thing to note is that in some of Capell's forms, what I shall call the "accusative" marker -n- is inaccurately reported For example, he cites the transitive combination 2SG/3SG as>yin-. It should actually beyi-, with quite different implications for the structure of the system than if the first form were correct.

There is, however, some question about analysis of both palatal sonorants intervocalically, simply because in that position there is no clear or convincing basis for a contrast between ly versus a combination /+ y, or between ny versus n+ y, as there Segmental phonology 19 is finally. This is true, for example, of a word for a catfish species, which could alternatively be /ginyang/ or /ginyang/, or the word for 'echidna' which might alternatively be represented phonemically as /gawalyan or /gawalyan/.

Which may leavey stemfinal. So far, the evidence suggests that only two boundary types are needed to account for invariable versus facultative degemination. These will be represented, wherever it is useful to distinguish them, as ~ (where degemination is facultative) and / (invariant degemination). Now let us return to the question of underlying sequences of nn in the pronominal prefix forms to the verb. In a small number of prefixes, it appears plausible and formally justifiable, by analogy with other forms, to posit an underlying prefix structure which contains instances ofn-n, where the first is an accusative marker within the prefix paradigm, the second, the initial sonorant of a small number of«- initial pronominal prefixes which may occur following the accusative marker.

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