New PDF release: A reference grammar of Menya, an Angan language of Papua New

By Carl Robert Whitehead

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Extra info for A reference grammar of Menya, an Angan language of Papua New Guinea

Sample text

P«ot! d,m,«pd h=pt! rtv«=h that=M shoe=DEF CMPL be/put-DETR-3S/DSR ‘He finished putting his shoes on …’ 51) …ht`pt! at`x«! ghj«! hjhjhxh-! h=h=`pt! at`x«! ghj«! ’ Whereas the personal pronouns given in Table 8 are used for both subject and object arguments, the unmarked forms of the demonstrative pronouns given in Table 11 are only used for subject NPs. For the object, a clitic is added which varies according to number: generally =d ‘SG’, =h ‘DL’ and =t ‘PL’, as in (52). 4). Table 12 gives the object and genitive equivalents of the masculine forms from Table 11.

Exactive p«pt! p«=pt! the very one The seven sets that specify elevation are only used with literal, spatial reference as in (55). 55) X«flt s«phr`mih-! ’ The four neutral forms on the other hand are frequently (exclusively for the indefinite and exactive forms) used with textual (anaphoric or cataphoric) reference or with what has elsewhere been called psychological reference. As is the case in many languages, the near demonstrative forms are often used cataphorically, pointing forward in the text to a referent that is about to be identified.

Most verbs assign grammatical subject status to the actor and its referent is more often than not the speaker’s choice as the psychological subject, leading to the frequent convergence of the three subject functions. The minimal role for syntax in the clause that is described here is not unusual for Papuan languages. Foley (1986:175) states that “for Barai, syntax must be recognized as an independent parameter in the organization of the clause. ” The dominant syntactic function that has been described as subject-oriented for Papuan languages is the switch-reference system – the marking of one clause to indicate whether the tracked referent is the same or different in the subsequent text.

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