Morphosyntactic reanalysis in Australian languages
This paper discusses three examples of reanalysis in the Pama-Nyungan languages of Australia, affecting word, clause, and sentence level constructions respectively. The elimination of a morpheme boundary, with absorption of an erstwhile suffix into the nominal stem, in Western Desert dialects revisits and amplifies earlier discussion from Koch (1995), canvassing various motivations and finding supporting data more recent data from Langlois (2004). Secondly, the gradual implementation of the effects of a change from ergative to accusative alignment in Panyjima, as established by Dench (1982), are explored within Andersen’s framework of actualisation. The third study shows, on the basis of the etymology of formal markers, how, in the Arandic languages, biclausal structures have developed via auxiliarisation into inflectional markers of imperfective aspect, but also into a set of inflections realising contrasting values within a new morphosyntactic category of “associated motion”. This section articulates the diachronic developments behind the synchronic system, building on earlier suggestions by Koch (1984) and Wilkins (1991).
- 1.Introduction and overview
- 2.Boundary loss with creation of morphological zero
- 3.Reanalysis of alignment: Ergative to accusative
- 4.Clause fusion to auxiliary constructions and inflections marking Associated Motion
- 5.Summary and conclusions