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LINGUIST List 23.5102

Thu Dec 06 2012

Diss: Austronesian/ Anthro Ling: Aikhenvald: 'A Grammar of Lha’alua, an Austronesian Language of Taiwan'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 05-Dec-2012
From: Chia-jung Pan < ccularsgate.sinica.edu.tw">Chiajung.Panmy.jcu.edu.au; ccularsgate.sinica.edu.tw>
Subject: A Grammar of Lha’alua, an Austronesian Language of Taiwan
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Institution: James Cook University
Program: School of Arts and Social sciences, LCRC
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Dissertation Title: A Grammar of Lha’alua, an Austronesian Language of Taiwan

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
Language Family(ies): Austronesian

Dissertation Director:
Alexandra Y Aikhenvald
Elizabeth Zeitoun
R. M. W. Dixon

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis is a grammar of Lha’alua (known as Saaroa), an Austronesian language of Taiwan. Lha’alua is spoken in Taoyuan Village and Kaochung Village, Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by fewer than 10 people. Lha’alua is highly synthetic and agglutinating. Prefixation is productive, whereas other affixation types are not. There are numerous types of reduplication. The two major word classes are verb and noun. Despite some grammatical distinctions differentiating adjectival elements from dynamic verbs and from nouns ‘adjective’ is not recognisable as an independent word class. Adjectival elements are treated as stative verbs with which they share morphosyntactic properties. The basic constituent order is VAO, if transitive, or VS(E), if intransitive. The pronominal system consists of bound pronouns and independent pronouns. The bound pronoun is a core argument in S function or A function, whereas the independent pronoun is a core argument in S (when topicalized), E, A or O function. The bound pronouns can be divided into two sets: nominative pronouns, marking arguments in S function, and genitive pronouns, marking arguments in A function and possessor function. The case system includes core, oblique and genitive. The core case covers arguments in S, A and O functions. The oblique case marks extended arguments (i.e. E function) and peripheral arguments, e.g. location. The genitive case is used to encode possessor function.

There are three verbal clause patterns in Lha’alua: (i) Pattern 1: monovalent intransitive clauses, (ii) Pattern 2: bivalent intransitive clauses and (iii) Pattern 3: (a) bivalent transitive clauses and (b) bivalent applicative clauses. (i) and (ii) take Actor voice (AV), marked by um-/<um>/u-/m-/ø-; (iiia) takes patient voice (PV), marked by -a/-ø; (iiib) takes locative voice (LV), marked by -a(na)/-i/-ani. The definiteness effect plays a role in determining the manifestation of voice in an independent clause, and the manifestation of voice in independent clauses plays a role in determining grammatical subjects.

Lha'alua is a highly endangered language. Its grammar and lexicon have been affected by processes of language obsolescence.

The thesis consists of 10 chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the people, the language, and provides some ethnographic notes of Lha’alua. Chapter 2 describes phonology and morphophonology. Chapter 3 discusses word classes, including nouns and subclasses of nouns, verbs and subclasses of verbs, adjectives as a subclass of stative verbs, numerals, closed classes of shifters, and closed grammatical systems. Chapter 4 deals with morphological units and morphological processes. Chapter 5 describes nominal morphology, including common nouns, kinship terms, person names, family names, locative nouns, and temporal nouns. Chapter 6 describes verbal morphology, including verb classification, non-spatial setting, voice, imperative, negation, third person agreement marking and lexical prefix copying. Chapter 7 addresses transitivity and grammatical relations, including constituent order, construction markers, personal pronouns and agreement forms. Chapter 8 discusses clause types, including independent clauses (verbal, nominal, existential, possessive, and locative) and dependent clauses (relative, adverbial, and complementation strategies). Chapter 9 deals with speech act distinctions, including interrogative, imperative, and declarative sentences. Chapter 10 addresses numerals and the counting system.

For further informaiton please contact Dr Pan, at Chiajung.Panmy.jcu.edu.au




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