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LINGUIST List 23.1444

Wed Mar 21 2012

Diss: Lang Documentation/Semantics/Typology: Hoffmann: 'Descriptions of Motion and Travel in Jaminjung and Kriol'

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Date: 02-Mar-2012
From: Dorothea Hoffmann <hoffmann.dorotheagmail.com>
Subject: Descriptions of Motion and Travel in Jaminjung and Kriol
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Institution: University of Manchester
Program: Department of German
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Dorothea Hoffmann

Dissertation Title: Descriptions of Motion and Travel in Jaminjung and Kriol

Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation

Subject Language(s): Djamindjung (djd)
                            Kriol (rop)

Dissertation Director:
Andrew Koontz-Garboden
Eva Schultze-Berndt

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis provides an in-depth analysis of motion event descriptions of
Jaminjung, a highly endangered non Pama-Nyungan language and Kriol, an
English-lexified Creole, spoken in different varieties across northern
Australia. While the languages are typologically very different, occupancy
of the same linguistic and cultural area provides an intriguing opportunity
to investigate the effects of culture and language contact on conceptual
components and distribution patterns in discourse. The investigation also
applies and tests a number of existing frameworks and typologies regarding
the linguistic encoding of motion and space in general.

Concerning the encoding of motion event descriptions in Jaminjung and
Kriol, it becomes clear that, the languages follow systematic semantic
patterns for optional case-marking of ground-encodings. Particularly
noteworthy in an investigation into the motion verb phrase is a study of
asymmetrical serial verb constructions in Kriol.

Additionally, an investigation into Frames of Reference (FoR), using a
number of typological frameworks shows that contextual restrictions for the
use of Jaminjung's absolute terms can be accounted for by a restriction on
egocentric anchoring and 'Orientation' settings only. Furthermore, absolute
FoR is realized differently in Roper and Westside Kriol respectively,
suggesting an ongoing influence of the traditional languages spoken by the
respective communities rather than the lexifier English. Jaminjung and
Kriol, additionally, prefer the use of absolute over relative FoR.

Following this, the influence of lexicalization patterns on the
distribution of path and manner encodings in discourse using a dataset of
motion event encodings is analyzed. Jaminjung might best be described as
following an equipollently-framed pattern and Kriol is satellite-framed.
While the two languages behave very differently with regards to frequency
patterns of ground- and other path-encodings, they show remarkable
similarities in distributing path and manner over larger chunks of
discourse. These findings suggest that cultural influences may sometimes
override structural typological constraints.

Finally, motion event encodings in specific types of discourse are
investigated. In route descriptions, speakers show a clear preference for
dynamic over static modes of presentation. Furthermore, the concept of
'motion' is abstracted and employed as a kind of structuring device in
narratives. It is shown that speakers of both languages use the notion of
'journey' to bridge episodes sometimes even overriding a temporal in favor
of a spatial order of events.

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