Warembori is a language spoken by 600-700 people living in river mouths on
the north coast of the island of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of
Irian Jaya. It has not been previously described in any grammatical detail,
and this sketch presents some of the complexities of applicative and noun
incorporation structures, as well as aspects of its interesting phonology.
A structuralist approach is taken to the description, allowing the
morphosyntax of the language itself determine the categories used in the
description, rather than impose a particular theoretical model on the data.
After surveying the main grammatical constructions in Warembori, including
notes on the speakers' preferences for alternative constructions, the
description is concluded with notes on the genetic affiliations of
Warembori with respect to nearby Papuan and Austronesian languages, a
wordlist and a short text to illustrate the language in spoken context.
Mark Donohue works at the University of Sydney, Australia, and has
previously published a reference grammar of Tukang Besi, an Austronesian
language of Indonesia, and has worked extensively in eastern Indonesia and
Papua New Guinea, publishing both descriptive and theoretical work on
languages of the area and their relation to modern linguistic research.