The present study is a descriptive monograph of the language spoken by
Yawuru Aborigines of north-west Australia. The Yawuru language is
genetically classified as a member of the Nyulnyulan family. Morphologically
it is counted among the so-called "prefixing languages" and has a highly
complicated inflexional morphology of verbs, whereas word ordering is
remarkably flexible. In terms of syntactic typology, Yawuru is an ergative
language which, however, reveals an accusative-type verb agreement
The practical orthography for the Yawuru language employed in this
monograph is allophonic (i.e. slightly over-differentiating) rather than purely
phonemic. Reasons for using such a spelling System are stated in Chapter 3.
Throughout the description, considerable weight is laid on elucidating
semantic aspects of the morphology and syntax of the language rather than
merely presenting forms and their combinations. A meaningwise approach is
central to this description, particularly in the treatment of verbal and
pronominal morphology (Chapters 4 and 7). Also semantically-oriented are
accounts of preverbs (Chapter 5), case marking (Chapter 6), adverbs
(Chapter 8), reduplication (Chapter 9) and syntactic construction patterns
(Chapter 10). A large number of sentential examples, more often context-
bound than not, will be cited in order to substantiate the points of discussion.
Unless otherwise noted, all the sample sentences are taken from native
Speakers' natural spontaneous utterances.
Comparative linguistics is outside the scope of this study, although several
important facts are pointed out in footnotes.