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Coverbs and Complex Predicates in Wagiman

Stephen Wilson

Wagiman is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in the Top End of the Northern Territory. It possesses an unusual open class of words which the author calls "coverbs". Most frequently, coverbs are paired with an inflecting verb from a closed class to form a complex predicate: the coverb and inflecting verb jointly determine the verbal semantics and argument structure of the clause. This book provides a descriptive and analytical account of the behavior of coverbs in Wagiman, especially their role in complex predicate formation. Wilson aims to discover what principles are at work in directing and constraining this process, and how the meaning of the whole is derived from the meanings of the parts. After discussing a wide range of relevant data from the language, he outlines a formal analysis within Lexical Functional Grammar. He argues that to account for the intricacy of Wagiman complex predicates, it is necessary for the grammar to make explicit reference to representations of lexical meaning, and he proposes that complex predicate formation can be seen as the fusion of these semantic representations.

Stepehn Wilson wrote this book as a student in linguistics at the University of Sydney. He is currently carrying out research supported by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1
    Introduction
    • 1.1 Coverbs and complex predicates
    • 1.2 The language and its speakers
    • 1.3 Fieldwork and other sources

  • Chapters 2
    Some essential features of Wagiman morpho-syntax
    • 2.1 Basics
      • 2.1.1 Word classes
      • 2.1.2 Types of clauses
      • 2.1.3 Non-configurationality
      • 2.1.4 Intonation groups
    • 2.2 Nominals
      • 2.2.1 Nominal morphology
      • 2.2.2 Pronouns
      • 2.2.3 Demonstratives and locative nominals
      • 2.2.4 Interrogatives
      • 2.2.5 ‘Nouns’ and ‘Adjectives’
      • 2.2.6 Nominal phrases
    • 2.3 Inflecting verbs
      • 2.3.1 Verb roots
      • 2.3.2 Prefixes
      • 2.3.3 Tense, aspect, mood and polarity in the inflecting verb
        • 2.3.3.1 Past and past perfective
        • 2.3.3.2 Past habitual
        • 2.3.3.3 Present
        • 2.3.3.4 Future tense and imperatives
        • 2.3.3.5 Irrealis categories
        • 2.3.3.6 Negation
      • 2.3.4 The reflexive/reciprocal suffix
      • 2.3.5 Other inflectional suffixes
      • 2.3.6 Deriving non-finite verbs
    • 2.4 The arrangements of inflecting verbs
      • 2.4.1 Simple intransitive verbs
      • 2.4.2 Oblique argument or adjuncts?
      • 2.4.3 Ditransitive verbs
      • 2.4.4 The verb -ya(ma)-‘say/do/become’
      • 2.4.5 Verbs which require a predicative complement

  • Chapter 3
    Coverbs as a word class
    • 3.1 The nature of the class
      • 3.1.1 Identifying coverbs
      • 3.1.2 Phonological shape
      • 3.1.3 Semantic content
    • 3.2 Aspectual marking on coverbs
      • 3.2.1 The -ma aspectual suffix
      • 3.2.2 The imperfective suffix -yan
      • 3.2.3 Reduplication
    • 3.3 Other coverb morphology
      • 3.3.1 The dual suffix -giwa
      • 3.3.2 The negative imperative suffix -wehen
      • 3.3.3 The -wuy suffix
      • 3.3.4 Deriving with nu- ~ no-
      • 3.3.5 Deriving nominals with ma- -yin

  • Chapter 4
    Coverb constructions
    • 4.1 Complex predicates
      • 4.1.1 What is a complex predicate
      • 4.1.2 Overview of the semantics and arguemnts of complex predicates
      • 4.1.3 Monoclausality
      • 4.1.4 Word order
      • 4.1.5 Multiple coverbs with a single inflecting verb
    • 4.2 Coverbs as independent predicates
      • 4.2.1 Independent coverbs in their own intonation group
      • 4.2.2 Independent coverbs in the same intonation group as an inflecting verb
      • 4.2.3 Imperatives with coverbs
    • 4.3 Verbalisation: zero-deriving inflecting verbs from coverbs
    • 4.4 Case making on coverbs
    • 4.5 Conclusion

  • Chapter 5
    The semantics and arguments of complex predicates
    • 5.1 Preliminaries
    • 5.2 Intransitive coverbs of state
    • 5.3 Intransitive coverbs of change of state
    • 5.4 Coverbs of motion
    • 5.5 Coverbs of communication
    • 5.6 Coverbs of emotion
    • 5.7 Coverbs of impact and violence
    • 5.8 Adverbial coverbs
    • 5.9 Summary

  • Chapter 6
    A formal approach to complex predicates
    • 6.1 Theoretical background
      • 6.1.1 Orientation
      • 6.1.2 From PREDs to lexical conceptual structures
      • 6.1.3 Representing lexical conceptual structures
      • 6.1.4 Linking
    • 6.2 Formalising predicate fusion
      • 6.2.1 What does predicate fusion involve?
      • 6.2.2 Licensing predicate fusion
    • 6.3 Applying the theory
      • 6.3.1 States, inchoatives and causitives
      • 6.3.2 Motion and activity
      • 6.3.3 Coverbs which introduce oblique arguements
      • 6.3.4 Coverbs which introduce ranges

  • Chapter 7
    Conclusion
  • Appendix 1 Abbreviations and conventions
  • Appendix 2 Orthography and phonology
  • Bibliography

3/1/99

ISBN (Paperback): 1575861720 (9781575861722)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575861739 (9781575861739)

Subject: Linguistics; Wageman (Wagiman) Language--Verb phrase; Wageman (Wagiman) Language--Adjectives

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