LINGUIST List 5.1213

Tue 01 Nov 1994

FYI: Typology Workbook

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  1. Nick Reid, Workbook

Message 1: Workbook

Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 15:25:18 Workbook
From: Nick Reid <>
Subject: Workbook

In '95 I'm teaching a unit called Descripptive Linguistics: Morphology
and Syntax. Its one of those 2nd /3rd yr level units that covers
classic a structuralist techniques for analysing and describing
languages, introduces students to some of the theoretical and
conceptual problems that arise in language description, and exposes
students to some of the main types of morphological and syntactic
phenomena in languages of the world.

Its thus mainly descriptive, but with a secondary typological bent,
and I'm sure in this respect it is similar to Linguistics units on
offer at many universities.

As a text I'm using (bits of) the new Crowley, Lynch, Siegel, Piau
book 'Design of Language' which is being published by Longman in Jan
'95. As support material for this unit, I'm putting together a
collection of language data problems as a workbook. In the past I've
either concocted my own, or plundered the usual sources (Langacker,
Stockwell, Demers & Farmer,etc etc) but I'm a bit tired of these and
I'm on the lookout for fresh material. Many of you who have been
involved in both teaching and language description have probably, like
me, developed language data problems for use in assignments and
tutorials, etc. 20

So I'm writing to seek contributions from anyone who'd like to pool
such data. I'll happily accept problems in phonology, but I'm
particularly interested in morphology, morphosyntax and syntax. I'd
like the workbook to have an Australian/Asian/Pacific regional bias,
but not so strong as to stifle typological diversity, so I'll welcome
useful material from any language anywhere. Contributors will be
acknowledged in the text (as in sample below) and will receive a free
electronic copy of the completed workbook. I'd like any contributions
before mid-Jan, and the completed workbook will be posted to you at
the end of Feb. My immediate intention is to create a student resource
manuscript for '95 , but if subsequent publication seems desirable,
I'll recontact contributors to seek their permission. If you are
interested, here's a list of topics as a prompt, and a few

20/80 grammatical categories, noun class/gender, TAM distinctions,
polarity, transitivity, causatives, voice,
pre-/suf-/in-/simul-/supra-fixes, replacive/zero/subtractive morphs,
compounding, redup, morphotactics,
inflection/derivation, conditioned allomorphy, abstractness in
morphophonemics, clitics, case distinctions, concord, word order,
adpositions, verb serialisation, co-ordination, subordination, complements,
relativisation, problems that highlight the adequacy/inadequacy of
insertion/movement rules, etc etc

 80 Provide the language name, and a short language description (as
 in sample below).
 80 data emaile to as an attached document,
 keyed in Times 12 and IPARoman 12 fonts, will simplify my job, but
good data scrawled in blood on paperbark will do if it's legible.
 80 if you use an established orthography instead of IPA, provide
 a key to the orthography (as in sample below).

SAMPLE FORMAT (a dangerous exercise within Eudora - please allow
 for its limitations)

Problem 1 Ngan'giwumirri [contributed by: Nicholas Reid]

description: 20
Ngan'giwumirri is spoken by about 20 people in the Daly River region
300 kms southwest of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. It
is a non-PamaNyungan language with an elaborate noun class system and
complex polysynthetic verbal morphology. 20

question: 20
The Ngan'giwumirri data below illustrates the morphological marking
of membership in two noun classes. Describe the semantics of these two
noun classes, and their morphology, noting any allomorphy that you find.
Can you argue convincingly for an 'underlying form' for either class marker.

[useful info: Ngan'giwumirri has a four vowel inventory; /i/ high
 front,/e/ low front. /a/ low back, /u/ high back. Orthographic 'ty,''sy'
 and 'ny'represent palatal stop, fricative, and nasal respectively, /rr/ and
 /r/ represent a trill and continuant].
1 daba arm 16 damadi
2 adany shark 17 depi
3 afiti insect 18 deme
4 eferri bluetongue 19 dapurr
5 detyirri navel 20 afu
whip snake
6 engete kingfisher 21 afunyi
7 detyerri ear 22 defirr
8 awiny bream 23 dagarri
9 afilpurr carpet snake 24 epelen
 rifle fish
10 denintyi knee 25 desyi
11 dederri back 26 aminyirr
12 awuntyerr finch 27 amu
13 emengginy goanna 28 datyamu cheek
14 data shoulder 29 detyeny
15 akaka nightjar owl 30 elele


many thanks

Nick Reid
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