The grammatical structure of the Worora language from north-western Australia
This detailed grammar of Worora was written in 1932 by Rev J.R.B. Love, a pioneer missionary in the rugged Kimberley country of north Western Australia and has never before been published. Worora is a polysynthetic language with overarching concord, reminiscent of that in Bantu languages.
Love provides an insightful description of the four numbers in pronouns, and the system of four noun classes, whose membership is based partly on phonological and partly on semantic characteristics. He provides detailed paradigms of intransitive and transitive verbs as these vary for tense, mood, voice and polarity.
The Introduction places Worora within its linguistic context, detailing contact with neighbouring languages. There are then chapters on The Pronoun, The Noun, The Adjective, The Postposition, The Conjunction, The Adverb, The Interjection, The Intransitive Verb, The Transitive Verb, The Verb 'do. say or tell', and Miscellaneous Notes. An Appendix has comparative vocabulary with other languages. There is also a specimen of Worora narrative with detailed analysis. Reflecting the spirit of the age in which he lived, Love concludes the Introduction with a summary of the manifold complexities of the language and then opines: 'So the present investigator has come to the conclusion that, crude and naked savages as they are, the mental culture of the Worora is not so contemptible.'
Ed. by RMW Dixon, Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University.
ISBN 9783895866050 LINCOM Studies in Australian Languages 04. 100pp. 2000.