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Title: Coverbs and Complex Predicates in Wagiman
Written By: Steven Wilson

Wagiman is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in the Top End of the Northern Territory. It possesses an unusual open class of words which the author calls "coverbs". Most frequently, coverbs are paired with an in=FEecting verb from a closed class to form a complex predicate: the coverb and in=FEecting verb jointly determine the verbal semantics and argument structure of the clause. This book provides a descriptive and analytical account of the behaviour of coverbs in Wagiman, especially their role in complex predicate formation. Wilson aims to discover what principles are at work in directing and constraining this process, and how the meaning of the whole is derived from the meanings of the parts. After discussing a wide range of relevant data from the language, he outlines a formal analysis within Lexical Functional Grammar. He argues that to account for the intricacy of Wagiman complex predicates, it is necessary for the grammar to make explicit reference to representations of lexical meaning, and he proposes that complex predicate formation can be seen as the fusion of these semantic representations.

Publication Year: 1999
Publisher: CSLI Publications
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Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Subject Language(s): Wageman
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1575861720
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 182pp

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1575861739
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 182pp