This book is a description of the Nyangumarta language spoken by several hundred marrngu 'people' in the north-west of Western Australia. The description is based on material which the author collected between 1983 and 1997. The book includes descriptions of the phonology, the morphology and word classes including the pronominal systems. It also includes detailed descriptions of Nyangumarta main and complex clauses.
Nyangumarta is of general typological interest. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the status of word which emerges necessarily in the description of Nyangumarta verbal morphology contributes to the notion of there being a mismatch between what is regarded as a phonological word and what is regarded as a grammatical word in some languages. In Nyangumarta the paradigms of verbal pronouns illustrate a division between morphemes which are phonologically bound and those which are phonologically free; although both sets are grammatically bound to the verb. To add to this there is a class of derivational verbs which appear to be divided according to their phonological/grammatical word status. The inchoative and stative verbs are analysed as having phonological word status whereas the monosyllabic derivational verbs such as the affective and causative and the semantically 'empty' -pi are analysed as bound verbalisers.
The phonological system of Nyangumarta is of interest because its productive system of vowel assimilation within the verbal morphology is one of the most elaborate of all the Australian languages.