The Yawuru language of West Kimberley: a meaning-based description
Kyoto Seika University
RMW Dixon (series ed.)
The present study is a descriptive monograph of the language spoken by Yawuru Aborigines of north-west Australia. The Yawuru language is genetically classified as a member of the Nyulnyulan family. Morphologically it is counted among the so-called "prefixing languages" and has a highly complicated inflexional morphology of verbs, whereas word ordering is remarkably flexible. In terms of syntactic typology, Yawuru is an ergative language which, however, reveals an accusative-type verb agreement System.
The practical orthography for the Yawuru language employed in this monograph is allophonic (i.e. slightly over-differentiating) rather than purely phonemic. Reasons for using such a spelling System are stated in Chapter 3.
Throughout the description, considerable weight is laid on elucidating semantic aspects of the morphology and syntax of the language rather than merely presenting forms and their combinations. A meaningwise approach is central to this description, particularly in the treatment of verbal and pronominal morphology (Chapters 4 and 7). Also semantically-oriented are accounts of preverbs (Chapter 5), case marking (Chapter 6), adverbs (Chapter 8), reduplication (Chapter 9) and syntactic construction patterns (Chapter 10). A large number of sentential examples, more often context-bound than not, will be cited in order to substantiate the points of discussion. Unless otherwise noted, all the sample sentences are taken from native Speakers' natural spontaneous utterances.
Comparative linguistics is outside the scope of this study, although several important facts are pointed out in footnotes.
ISBN 9783862880935. Outstanding grammars from Australia 02. 531pp. 2011.