Discontinuous noun phrases in Ngkolmpu
It has been claimed that Ngkolmpu (Yam, Papuan) displays discontinuous noun phrases (Donohue 2011). However, careful textual analysis of a corpus of naturalistic language reveals that, in practice, this is highly restricted. The data shows two relatively rare constructions which give rise to limited discontinuous structures. The first is an afterthought construction involving a full co-referential nominal constituent adjacent to the clause. This co-referential constituent is both syntactically and phonetically distinct from the main utterance. The other involves a topic marking demonstrative encliticised to verbs at the right edge of the clause interacting with general information-structural conditions on word order. This is the only true discontinuity found in the corpus and is restricted to demonstratives only. This paper clarifies a claim in the literature about the empirical facts of a specific language, Ngkolmpu, and adds a nuanced discussion of nominal discontinuity in a language of New Guinea.
Keywords: discontinuity, information-structure, Papuan, Yam, Kanum
Published online: 24 August 2020
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