Edited by William B. McGregor and Søren Wichmann
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 342] 2018
► pp. 315–352
Most languages of northern Australia show a compound verb construction in which an uninflecting verbal element collocates with one of a small set of inflecting verbs. McGregor (2002) argues that this construction typically represents a system of verb classification in which the inflecting verbal root categorizes the uninflecting element. He proposes further that such systems of verb classification diffused areally across the northern part of the continent. For the languages of the Kimberley region, there is evidence that this diffusion predated the break-up of the proto-languages, and that systems of verb classification (or their precursors) can be reconstructed for the proto-languages. I argue that such a system can be reconstructed for Proto-Nyulnyulan, and that subsequent historical changes to this system gave rise to the modern systems of the daughter languages.