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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: A Grammar of Oksapmin Add Dissertation
Author: Robyn Loughnane Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Melbourne, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 2009
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation;
Subject Language(s): Oksapmin
Director(s): Rachel Nordlinger
Nicholas Evans

Abstract: This thesis describes the features of the phonology, morphology and syntax
of Oksapmin, a Papuan (Non-Austronesian) language of Papua New Guinea.
Oksapmin is spoken by around 8000 people, most of whom reside in the Tekin
valley in Sandaun Province. The analysis in this thesis is based on the
study of data from both elicitation and text collection undertaken on two
field trips between 2004 and 2006: from May to October 2004, and from
October 2005 to January 2006.

A general introduction is provided in Chapter 1, phonology, phonotactics
and morphophonology are discussed in Chapter 2, word classes in Chapter 3,
demonstratives in Chapter 4, nouns in Chapter 5, postpositions in Chapter
6, noun phrase syntax in Chapter 7, verbs in Chapter 8, coverbs in Chapter
9, clausal syntax in Chapter 10, phrasal clitics in Chapter 11, and clause
combining in Chapter 12. Four sample texts are provided as appendices.
Sound files are provided on the accompanying CD for many of the examples
scattered throughout the thesis, as well as for all the texts in the

The most interesting and important grammatical subsystem in Oksapmin is the
evidential one, which permeates various areas of the grammar. Without
proper knowledge of this system, one cannot make a single grammatical
sentence in the language. Recall that evidentiality is, roughly speaking,
when a speaker marks how he or she came about the knowledge on which a
given utterance is based. Evidentiality in Oksapmin is indicated with past
tense verbal inflection, with enclitics, and with a number of other
constructions. The evidential system is typologically unusual in that the
primary contrast it marks is participatory/factual versus visual/sensory
evidence; this distinction is made in the verbal inflection.
Participatory/factual evidentials are not widely attested
cross-linguistically, and those systems that do exist have been largely
ignored in the typological literature.

Some of the other areas of grammar discussed in this thesis include
prenasalised consonants with nasal allophones, noun phrases with a complex
syntactic structure, a range of demonstratives which distinguish for
elevation, a large vocabulary of kin terms including a set of dyadic kin
terms, extensive use of complex predicates consisting of a light verb plus
a coverb, and a variety of clause combining strategies including clause