A grammar of Acehnese




Durie, Mark

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This is a reference grammar of Acehnese, a regional language of north Sumatra. The introduction gives a description of the geographical location and genetic affiliation of Acehnese. There is an overview of previous works on Acehnese, and a statement of goals and methodology. Chapter two is a description of the phonology. Some acoustic data is given, including a formant plot of the oral monophthongs. Points of general interest are: • The treatment of the Acehnese fricative [S]. • The treatment of murmur and aspiration. • The treatment of 11 funny 11 nasal stops and nasal vowels, which differs considerably from past analyses. A phonemicisation is presented and an orthography, which is followed in the rest of this grammar. Chapter three begins with a description of the terms phrase, word and clitic, which are important for the rest of the grammar. It gives a treatment of allomorphy, free morphological variation, and reduplication. The final section contains an outline of parts of speech. Chapter four is a description of verbs. Detailed attention is paid to verb derivation, and the semantic characteristics of the main verbal arguments Agent and Undergoer. There is also a treatment of nominal incorporation onto verbs, and a justification for having no class of adjectives - a major point of departure from previous descriptions of Acehnese. Chapter five is a description of nominals and nominal phrases. Important sections are the treatment of possession, nominal predicates, pronouns, demonstratives, expressions for measuring, and nominal derivation. Special attention is paid throughout to semantics. The section on pronominal clitics is of particular importance for the syntactic description in later chapters. Chapter six is a description of epistemological classifiers, a special closed class of ,vords used to categorise types of knowledge. One of their uses is to form a wide variety of verbs with the meaning 'to know'. Chapter seven is a description of prepositions, their use and function. Chapter eight is a description of syntax within the clause. The key concept of Core Role is developed here. Acehnese is a language of considerable theoretical interest; it is a language that is neither ergative nor accusative in type. For this reason a special nondescriptive section describes the place of Acehnese in syntactic typology and the problem that it presents for current theories of syntax. This chapter also develops the concept of Core Top£c, a grammaticalised topic marked by word order. There is a description of word order, ellipsis, intonation, argument cliticisation, and of the focus marker di; all these fit in the general category of topicality. After these sections, certain miscellaneous aspects of clausal syntax are presented: clausal adjuncts, the vocative, reflexives, the comparative, and predicate operators. Chapter nine describes syntax beyond the clause. The first part deals with clause embedding. In this the treatments of relative clauses and complementation are important for their illustration of the concepts of Core Role and Core Topic. The final sections deal with conjunctions, non-declarative sentence types such as questions and orders, and words such as exclamations and interjections.






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