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Ngoni Waray Amungal-yang : the Waray language from Adelaide River

Harvey, Mark

Description

Preface: This grammar is intended to be essentially descriptive in nature. As far as possible I have tried to bring out the "genius", in a Sapirian sense, of the language. I have attempted to present the information in such a way that it will, hopefully, be accessible for others with a variety of interests, both theoretical and otherwise, which may be different to mine. This has meant that I have largely used a fairly traditional system of grammatical description. It has also meant that I...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHarvey, Mark
dc.date.accessioned2013-11-27T23:21:40Z
dc.identifier.otherb15782049
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/10855
dc.description.abstractPreface: This grammar is intended to be essentially descriptive in nature. As far as possible I have tried to bring out the "genius", in a Sapirian sense, of the language. I have attempted to present the information in such a way that it will, hopefully, be accessible for others with a variety of interests, both theoretical and otherwise, which may be different to mine. This has meant that I have largely used a fairly traditional system of grammatical description. It has also meant that I have accorded primacy to semantics. Theories concerning linguistic structures vary considerably over time, whereas the semantic/functional categories they are concerned to describe remain relatively constant. Therefore I have, in general, presented information in groupings of related semantic/functional fields. This method of presentation has naturally been tempered by due allowance for the salient morphological categories (e.g. Verbs vs Non-Verbs) expressed in the language. Waray is a prefixing language of northern Australia. It was spoken in the valleys of the Margaret and upper Adelaide Rivers, south-east of Darwin around the present day town of Adelaide River (Amungal). I have gone into some detail on the question of the area occupied by the Waray speaking people for two reasons. Firstly because there has been no other detailed consideration of the issue, and secondly because it is of some relevance in the consideration of land claims. I have also gone into some detail into the background of my teacher Mrs Doris White (Litawi), because this is a grammar of a dying language based essentially on elicitation sessions with her. Therefore I have felt it necessary to give some idea of her linguistic competence. Waray is a member of the Kunwinjkuan language· family and within this family appears to be most closely related to Jawoyn. Waray, as described in this grammar, accords quite closely with the grammars described for other prefixing languages (e.g. Merlan 1983 "Ngalakan Grammar, Texts and Vocabulary", Heath 1984 "Functional Grammar of Nunggubuyu"). It is a strongly agglutinative language, with inflectional tendencies. As in the other Kunwinjkuan languages, the Verbal Complex (VC), which consists of a verb and the Subject and Object prefixes, is capable of constituting a complete predication on its own. The Subject and Object prefixes, the verb stem case frames, the case markers and a system of marking Subject switches by free nominals are the main systems of textual cohesion. Like other prefixing languages Waray falls within the typological category of non-configurational languages. It displays the "free" word order characteristic of this grammatical category and the attendant problems in defining NPs and clauses. It also displays the general lack of well defined subordinating structures characteristic of the prefixing languages. While Waray is generally similar to other prefixing -languages there are some differences of structure or analysis which are of interest. 1. Waray like most of the languages in the area has two series of stops, which I have analysed as being distinctively short and long respectively. As well Waray has a separate class of geminates (these are simply an instance of stop clusters where the same stop phoneme occurs twice). The existence in Waray of separate classes of long stops and geminate clusters is of interest for the general problem of the analysis of the difference between the two stop series found in many languages of the Top End (see 2.1.2.1). The analysis is based on some spectrograms (p32) and close listening to careful Speech. 2. Waray has a noun class system, like most prefixing languages. However unlike most of these languages, the Waray noun class system plays little or no part in textual cohesion. It is extensively lexicalised and appears to be on the way out. This does not appear to be the result of language death phenomena. Jawoyn has a cognate and basically sirnilar noun class system, and the Waray system appears to be a natural development of the proto-Waray-Jawoyn system (see 3.2.1 ). 3. Waray, unlike most prefixing languages, has a subordinate infinitive clause structure, which is generally purposive in function (see 5.4). 4. Waray, unlike most Australian languages, has two copula verbs. They are yang 'to be' and ka-ngi 'to have', which are derived historically from yang 'to go' and ka-ngi 'to take' (see 5.8). There would not now, be more than four or five fluent speakers of Waray. My main teacher, Mrs White and her sister Mrs Fejo, my other teacher, were born and have lived most of their lives in the Humpty Doo area, just to the south-east of Darwin. During the time I worked with them, they were living at Humpty Doo station. I first started work on Waray in 1980, while working as a lecturer at the School of Australian Linguistics in Batchelor. I did some sporadic work on Waray during that year, and during 1981, when I was living in Darwin. The majority of the fieldwork for this grammar was undertaken in two fieldtrips in May - August 1982 and 1983. A considerable portion of the second fieldtrip was spent on anthropological, or ethno-botanical and -zoological matters such as site-mapping, collecting genealogies and identifying plant and animal species. I used the classic elicitation methods, as Waray has not been actively spoken in any significant way for many years. This grammar is therefore subject to the problems inherent in the elicitation methodology, but owing to the difficulty in obtaining text material there was no other alternative. Naturally the writing up of any grammar based on fieldnotes probably poses as many questions as it answers. There are a number of areas in this grammar where further information is required to deal with questions. In general they are mentioned in the text. The only area which requires comment here is intonation. It seems likely that intonation units and contours play a major role in determining information structures. Unfortunately I have little information on this topic, as I did not tape my fieldsessions. This is probably the major area requiring further study. It is my intent to return to Humpty Doo to learn more about Waray so that some of these gaps may be filled.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleNgoni Waray Amungal-yang : the Waray language from Adelaide River
dc.typeThesis (Masters)
local.contributor.supervisorKoch, Harold
dcterms.valid1986
local.description.notesSupervisor: Harold Koch. There is no declaration form in the file. This thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeMaster by research (Masters)
dc.date.issued1986
local.contributor.affiliationThe Australian National University
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d7638b71997b
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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