Title

Relational, Copula and Verbless Clauses in Rembarrnga

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publisher

Australian Linguistic Society

Faculty

Education and Arts

School

Communication & Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications

RAS ID

10757

Comments

This article was originally published as: Mckay, G. R. (2010). Relational, Copula and Verbless Clauses in Rembarrnga. Proceedings of Australian Linguistic Society Conference 2009. La Trobe University, Melbourne. Australian Linguistic Society. Original article available here

Abstract

Rembarrnga, a polysynthetic language of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia, has a range of clauses fitting the type termed copula clauses in earlier typologies by Curnow (1999) and Dixon (2002). These express relationships such as attribution, identity, location and possession between a subject noun phrase (CS) and a complement (CC), which may be a noun phrase, an adjective, a locational expression etc. Existential clauses are similar. In Rembarrnga, many of these clauses have no copula verb, suggesting that the category may be better defined functionally rather than formally, as Halliday (1994) and McGregor (1990, 1992, 1996) do. Most such clauses in Rembarrnga involve juxtaposition of CS and CC. The noun phrase complement (CC) may be inflected for tense and for subject pronoun (CS) like intransitive verbs, though with some differences. Rembarrnga inflected nominals in such clauses can also incorporate nouns between the root and the pronominal prefix, just like verbs. There is a set of inchoative suffixes. Tense inflection for these types shows some similarity with positional verbs. A separate positional verb may also be used as a copula. Some examples show the distinction between characterising (verbless) and situational (with copula verb) types found by McGregor for Gooniyandi (McGregor 1990:308).

Access Rights

Free_to_read