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LINGUIST List 19.1883

Fri Jun 13 2008

Books: Anthropological Linguistics/Syntax: Barclay

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <marialinguistlist.org>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
        1.    Ulrich Lueders, A Grammar of Western Dani: Barclay

Message 1: A Grammar of Western Dani: Barclay
Date: 13-Jun-2008
From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de>
Subject: A Grammar of Western Dani: Barclay
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Title: A Grammar of Western Dani
Series Title: LINCOM Grammar Handbooks 01
Published: 2008
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Author: Peter Barclay
Hardback: ISBN: 9783895862977 Pages: 679 Price: Europe EURO 134

A Grammar of Western Dani

Peter Barclay

This study presents a detailed description of the Western Dani language.
All the word classes are discussed beginning with the nouns. While some
nouns may have plural forms, normally the same form is used for both
singular and plural. Possession is indicated by prefixes and there are a
small number of suffixes marking such things as place and contents.
Adjectives normally follow nouns and as well there is sophisticated array
of intensifiers which modify both nouns and verbs. There are a relatively
small number of verbs in Western Dani. Nominals may be used preceding verbs
to give new meanings and as well, complex actions may be designated not by
a separate verb but by joining together the various constituent simple
actions. Verbs are often morphologically complex. Subjects are marked by
suffixes and objects may be marked either by prefixes or inner suffixes.
Depending on the type of object, verbs may be assigned objects from a
particular object class, though any particular verb may accommodate objects
from more than one of these classes.

The language is structured according to the realis/irrealis distinction. A
number of the more common verbs have a different root depending on the
status. There is a far past which is used for events that are no longer
considered relevant to the present, an intermediate past for events that
have happened and a near past for events that have just happened and are
regarded as complete. The present is used for events that are currently
occurring. There are two intentive forms that are used depending on whether
the intention is to act immediately or later on. Future forms are normally
used for events that are considered very likely to occur. There is, as
well, a sophisticated array of aspectual forms including habitual,
continuous, durative and iterative.

Nouns may be joined together by conjunctions or simply juxtaposed. Serial
verbs also may be joined to indicate simultaneity, successiveness or
purpose. There are a number of subordinate clauses including relative and
conditional clauses. Dependent clauses are used for narration of events.
Two verbs are normally used at the end of each dependent clause to indicate
person, number, tense and whether or not the subject of the next clause
will be the same or different to that in the current clause. These verbs
also indicate whether the actions in adjoining clauses occurs
simultaneously or successively. Western Dani is a very precise language and
every effort is taken to avoid any ambiguity of reference. It is also
complex and has offered many challenges to those from other cultures who
seek to understand it.

ISBN 9783895862977 (Hardbound). LINCOM Grammar Handbooks 01. 670 pp. 2008.

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
                            Anthropological Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Dani, Western (dnw)

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:

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