This grammar provides the first comprehensive grammatical description of Moloko, a Chadic language spoken by about 10,000 speakers in northern Cameroon. The grammar was developed from hours and years that the authors spent at friends’ houses hearing and recording stories, hours spent listening to the tapes and transcribing the stories, then translating them and studying the language through them. Time was spent together and with others speaking the language and talking about it, translating resources and talking to Moloko people about them. Grammar and phonology discoveries were made in the office, in the fields while working, and at gatherings. In the process, the four authors have become more and more passionate about the Moloko language and are eager to share their knowledge about it with others.
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Pite Saami is a highly endangered Western Saami language in the Uralic language family currently spoken by a few individuals in Swedish Lapland. This grammar is the first extensive book-length treatment of a Saami language written in English. While focussing on the morphophonology of the main word classes nouns, adjectives and verbs, it also deals with other linguistic structures such as prosody, phonology, phrase types and clauses. Furthermore, it provides an introduction to the language and its speakers, and an outline of a preliminary Pite Saami orthography. An extensive annotated spoken-language corpus collected over the course of five years forms the empirical foundation for this description, and each example includes a specific reference to the corpus in order to facilitate verification of claims made on the data. Descriptions are presented for a general linguistics audience and without attempting to support a specific theoretical approach, but this book should be equally useful for scholars of Uralic linguistics, typologists, and even learners of Pite Saami.
This text is a practical guide for linguists, and programmers, who work with data in multilingual computational environments. We introduce the basic concepts needed to understand how writing systems and character encodings function, and how they work together at the intersection between the Unicode Standard and the International Phonetic Alphabet. Although these standards are often met with frustration by users, they nevertheless provide language researchers and programmers with a consistent computational architecture needed to process, publish and analyze lexical data from the world's languages. Thus we bring to light common, but not always transparent, pitfalls which researchers face when working with Unicode and IPA. Having identified and overcome these pitfalls involved in making writing systems and character encodings syntactically and semantically interoperable (to the extent that they can be), we created a suite of open-source Python and R tools to work with languages using orthography profiles that describe author- or document-specific orthographic conventions. In this cookbook we describe a formal specification of orthography profiles and provide recipes using open source tools to show how users can segment text, analyze it, identify errors, and to transform it into different written forms for comparative linguistics research.
Komnzo is a Papuan language of Southern New Guinea spoken by around 250 people in the village of Rouku. Komnzo belongs to the Tonda subgroup of the Yam language family, which is also known as the Morehead Upper-Maro group. This grammar provides the first comprehensive description of a Yam language. It is based on 16 months of fieldwork. The primary source of data is a text corpus of around 12 hours recorded and transcribed between 2010 and 2015. Komnzo provides many fields of future research, but the most interesting aspect of its structure lies in the verb morphology, to which the two largest chapters of the grammar are dedicated. Komnzo verbs may index up to two arguments showing agreement in person, number and gender. Verbs encode 18 TAM categories, valency, directionality and deictic status. Morphological complexity lies not only in the amount of categories that verbs may express, but also in the way these are encoded. Komnzo verbs exhibit what may be called ‘distributed exponence’, i.e. single morphemes are underspecified for a particular grammatical category. Therefore, morphological material from different sites has to be integrated first, and only after this integration can one arrive at a particular grammatical category. The descriptive approach in this grammar is theory-informed rather than theory-driven. Comparison to other Yam languages and diachronic developments are taken into account whenever it seems helpful.
This grammar provides a synchronic grammatical description of Mauwake, a Papuan Trans-New Guinea (TNG) language of about 2000 speakers on the north coast of the Madang Province in Papua New Guinea. It is the first book-length treatment of the Mauwake language and the only published grammar of the Kumil subgroup to date. Relying on other existing published and unpublished grammars, the author shows how the language is similar to, or different from, related TNG languages especially in the Madang province. The grammar gives a brief introduction to the Mauwake people, their environment and their culture. Although the book mainly covers morphology and syntax, it also includes ashort treatment of the phonological system and the orthography. The description of the grammatical units proceeds from the words/morphology to the phrases, clauses, sentence types and clause combinations. The chapter on functional domains is the only one where the organization is based on meaning/function rather than structure. The longest chapter in the book is on morphology, with verbs taking the central stage. The final chapter deals with the pragmatic functions theme, topic and focus. 13 texts by native speakers, mostly recorded and transcribed but some originally written, are included in the Appendix with morpheme-by-morpheme glosses and a free translation. The theoretical approach used is that of Basic Linguistic Theory. Language typologists and professional Papuanist linguists are naturally one target audience for the grammar. But also two other possible, and important, audiences influenced especially the style the writing: well educated Mauwake speakers interested in their language, and those other Papua New Guineans who have some basic training in linguistics and are keen to explore their own languages.
This grammar provides a grammatical description of Palula, an Indo-Aryan language of the Shina group. The language is spoken by about 10,000 people in the Chitral district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This is the first extensive description of the formerly little-documented Palula language, and is one of only a few in-depth studies available for languages in the extremely multilingual Hindukush-Karakoram region. The grammar is based on original fieldwork data, collected over the course of about ten years, commencing in 1998. It is primarily in the form of recorded, mainly narrative, texts, but supplemented by targeted elicitation as well as notes of observed language use. All fieldwork was conducted in close collaboration with the Palula-speaking community, and a number of native speakers took active part in the process of data gathering, annotation and data management. The main areas covered are phonology, morphology and syntax, illustrated with a large number of example items and utterances, but also a few selected lexical topics of some prominence have received a more detailed treatment as part of the morphosyntactic structure. Suggestions for further research that should be undertaken are given throughout the grammar. The approach is theory-informed rather than theory-driven, but an underlying functional-typological framework is assumed. Diachronic development is taken into account, particularly in the area of morphology, and comparisons with other languages and references to areal phenomena are included insofar as they are motivated and available. The description also provides a brief introduction to the speaker community and their immediate environment.
This book presents an in-depth linguistic description of Papuan Malay, a non-standard variety of Malay. The language is spoken in coastal West Papua which covers the western part of the island of New Guinea. The study is based on sixteen hours of recordings of spontaneous narratives and conversations between Papuan Malay speakers, recorded in the Sarmi area on the northeast coast of West Papua. Papuan Malay is the language of wider communication and the first or second language for an ever-increasing number of people of the area. While Papuan Malay is not officially recognized and therefore not used in formal government or educational settings or for religious preaching, it is used in all other domains, including unofficial use in formal settings, and, to some extent, in the public media. After a general introduction to the language, its setting, and history, this grammar discusses the following topics, building up from smaller grammatical constituents to larger ones: phonology, word formation, noun and prepositional phrases, verbal and nonverbal clauses, non-declarative clauses, and conjunctions and constituent combining. Of special interest to linguists, typologists, and Malay specialists are the following in-depth analyses and descriptions: affixation and its productivity across domains of language choice, reduplication and its gesamtbedeutung, personal pronouns and their adnominal uses, demonstratives and locatives and their extended uses, and adnominal possessive relations and their non- canonical uses. This study provides a starting point for Papuan Malay language development efforts and a point of comparison for further studies on other Malay varieties.
This book is a comprehensive description of the grammar of Rapa Nui, the Polynesian language spoken on Easter Island. After an introductory chapter, the grammar deals with phonology, word classes, the noun phrase, possession, the verb phrase, verbal and nonverbal clauses, mood and negation, and clause combinations. The phonology of Rapa Nui reveals certain issues of typological interest, such as the existence of strict conditions on the phonological shape of words, word-final devoicing, and reduplication patterns motivated by metrical constraints. For Polynesian languages, the distinction between nouns and verbs in the lexicon has often been denied; in this grammar it is argued that this distinction is needed for Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui has sometimes been characterised as an ergative language; this grammar shows that it is unambiguously accusative. Subject and object marking depend on an interplay of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic factors. Other distinctive features of the language include the existence of a ‘neutral’ aspect marker, a serial verb construction, the emergence of copula verbs, a possessive-relative construction, and a tendency to maximise the use of the nominal domain. Rapa Nui’s relationship to the other Polynesian languages is a recurring theme in this grammar; the relationship to Tahitian (which has profoundly influenced Rapa Nui) especially deserves attention. The grammar is supplemented with a number of interlinear texts, two maps and a subject index.
This grammar provides the first comprehensive grammatical description of Yakkha, a Sino-Tibetan language of the Kiranti branch. Yakkha is spoken by about 14,000 speakers in eastern Nepal, in the Sankhuwa Sabha and Dhankuta districts. The grammar is based on original fieldwork in the Yakkha community. Its primary source of data is a corpus of 13,000 clauses from narratives and naturally-occurring social interaction which the author recorded and transcribed between 2009 and 2012. Corpus analyses were complemented by targeted elicitation. The grammar is written in a functional-typological framework. It focusses on morphosyntactic and semantic issues, as these present highly complex and comparatively under-researched fields in Kiranti languages. The sequence of the chapters follows the well-established order of phonological, morphological, syntactic and discourse-structural descriptions. These are supplemented by a historical and sociolinguistic introduction as well as an analysis of the complex kinship terminology. Topics such as verbal person marking, argument structure, transitivity, complex predication, grammatical relations, clause linkage, nominalization, and the topography-based orientation system have received in-depth treatment. Wherever possible, the structures found were explained in a historical-comparative perspective in order to shed more light on how their particular properties have emerged.
This book presents a synchronic grammar of the southern dialects of Yauyos, an extremely endangered Quechuan language spoken in the Peruvian Andes. As the language is highly synthetic, the grammar focuses principally on morphology; a longer section is dedicated to the language's unusual evidential system. The grammar's 1400 examples are drawn from a 24-hour corpus of transcribed recordings collected in the course of the documentation of the language.