Download Complex Sentence Constructions in Australian Languages by Peter Austin PDF

By Peter Austin

Over the last fifteen years, descriptions of Australian Aboriginal languages have supplied very important info for the typological research of morpho-syntactic phenomena. the current quantity provides descriptions of advanced sentence phenomena in ten Australian languages and gives very important new fabric during this zone of present problem in linguistics. advanced sentences are defined both from a syntactic or from a semantic (discourse-functional) perspective. The papers draw on facts from broadly disbursed and, in a few circumstances, formerly undescribed languages. between others descriptions of the (so-far) poorly recognized non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia, in addition to Pama-Nyungan languages primary and northerly Australia are integrated during this quantity.

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Hale 1976 was the first linguist to point out the existence of such multifunctional subordinate clauses (which he referred to as "generalised relative clauses") in Australian languages. Since then, this phenomenon has been documented in an increasing number of 38 WILLIAM . MCGREGOR languages (cf. Merlan 1981, Rumsey 1982, McKay 1987). What appears to be unusual about Kuniyanti, and has not been reported in any other Australian language, is that there is also a class of non-subordinated clauses which are equally multifunctional, and embrace a similar range of adnominal and adsentential modifying relations.

To reiterate, I have shown that the two mood enclitics -ja and -wiła func­ tion like the logical operator + . In effect, they contain full clauses (with or without logical particles) within their scope, indicating the speaker's attitude MOOD AND SUBORDINATION IN KUNIYANTI 45 towards (his acceptance of, or provisional acceptance of) the proposition they express. The three modes (see footnote 5), in contrast, express the speaker's evaluation of the status of the situation referred to, the desirability, likelihood, or certainty of its occurrence.

Thus, conditional, temporal, relative, locational, focus and reason clauses can, without further ado, be listed as examples of sentences in which the subordinate or entailed clauses are rendered less prominent, or to borrow a term from Schachter 1973, 'backgrounded'. 1 can readily be adapted by adding a feature BACKGROUND to the matrix and specifying it to match the specification for the feature ENTAILED in each of these cases. For instance (31)/(32) would now appear as in (62)/(63). ' Note in this connection Boer and Lycan's (1976:19) comments on nonrestrictive relative clauses: "Relativization evidently is, perhaps among other things, a way of deemphasizing certain parts of the total semantic content of a sentence, to such a degree that we want to deny that those parts are asserted by the sentence or by the speaker who utters it: those parts are, if you like, merely taken for granted (it IS tempting to say 'presupposes' here, in a quite nontechnical sense).

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