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Title: A grammar of Motuna
Written By: Masayuki Onishi
Edited By: R. M. W. Dixon
URL: http://lincom-shop.eu
Series Title: Outstanding grammars from Australia 09
Description:

This is a first descriptive grammar of Motuna - a Non-Austronesian language
spoken by circa 16 thousand people (in 2000) in the “Siwai” area of the
Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. It is one of the six languages
belonging to the South Bougainville Family. This is written mainly on the
basis of the analysis of narrative texts (three of which are given in Appendix)
and other linguistic data provided by two Motuna speakers living in Australia.

Motuna has many unique typological characteristics (Chap 1). It has a small
inventory of phonemes and a simple CV(C) syllable structure; morae play an
important role in accent assignment, reduplication, and “dearticulation” of
Ci/Cu syllables into three coda consonants (Chaps 2, 4 and 13). The
language is both head- and dependent-marking - core arguments (S, O and A)
are obligatorily cross-referenced by verbs, while A NP is optionally marked by
an ergative (instrumental) case suffix (Chap 3).

Nominal and verbal morphologies of Motuna are highly complex and
elaborate. All the nominals belong to a fully grammaticalised noun class
system based on their natural genders (masculine/neuter, feminine,
diminutive, local and manner), while some of them are optionally categorised
by classifiers combined with numerals, demonstratives, verbs, etc. (Chaps 4
and 8). Among nominals, kinship terms constitute possessive constructions
where pronominal possessors are obligatorily marked by pronominal prefixes.
Some local nouns have deictic functions, indicating locations or directions.
Pragmatic functions of NPs are indicated by word order, case markings and
the demonstrative/article (Chaps 3, 6, and 10).

Verbs can be classified according to the cross-referencing markings they
take. About half the verb stems of Motuna are ambi-transitive, taking both
transitive (A and O) and middle (S) suffixes. The rest are mostly intransitive.
Intransitive verbs are of four types: (1) Sa type taking A-type suffixes, (2) So
verbs taking O-type suffixes, (3) middle type, and (4) five most frequently
used irregular verbs. Causative and applicative valency-changing suffixes
productively derive transitive verbs from these stems (Chaps 12-14). Motuna
has an extensive tense/aspect/mood system (Chap 15). Clauses are mainly
combined by medial verbs (sensitive to switch-reference and relative
aspects) and relative clauses (Chap 17).

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Anthropological Linguistics
Papuan
Subject Language(s): Siwai
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9783862882076
Pages: 593
Prices: Europe EURO 78.00