Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages

Brett Baker

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages

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The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages are those indigenous Australian languages whose traditional territory was in the northern fifth of the continent, from around Broome on the western Australia coast across to around Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria (in the state of Queensland), and encompassing the Kimberley, the Daly River region, Arnhem Land, the Barkly Tableland, and the offshore islands such as Groote Eylandt. The languages here, as suggested by the name, do not form a genetic subgroup but are simply those Australian languages not belonging to the large Pama-Nyungan family (originally attributed to unpublished comments by the MIT linguist Ken Hale, covering the rest of the continent). NPN languages are notable mainly for their morphological complexity. Most have prefixal systems of argument indexing on the verb for up to two arguments; many have noun class systems (ranging from two to around seven in the case of Nunggubuyu); and a number of languages have extensive incorporation constructions. The latter can produce very complex word structures that might include nouns, adverbs, and quantifiers as well as the verb stem. Most survey and introductory work on Australian languages does not focus on NPN languages specifically.

Article.  5579 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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