OGFAUS 06: Ngan’gityemerri: a language of the Daly River region, Northern Territory of Australia

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Ngan’gityemerri: a language of the Daly River region, Northern Territory of Australia

Nicholas J. Reid
University of New England

RMW Dixon (series ed.)

Ngan'gityemerri is the name of a language spoken in two varieties named Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri. This language is spoken near the western coast of Australia’s Northern Territory by about 150 people.

This is a technical reference grammar, rather than a 2nd language learning resource, written for an audience of linguists. It treats Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri as a single grammar, but draws explicit attention to those areas where they differ.

Ngan'gityemerri is a non-PamaNyungan language with high levels of morphological complexity. It has a rich system of about 16 noun classes; a sound system atypical of Australia in having a 3-way obstruent contrast; and a verb complex built up through the pairing of an inflecting auxiliary verb with a non-inflecting verb stem (or coverb).

This study aims to provide a broad treatment of most areas of Ngan'gityemerri, so it includes substantial chapters on its phonology, and nominal and verbal morphology. However, as this is a language in which the verb is where the action is, that broad treatment is countered with more detailed exploration of two of the verb’s most interesting aspects: the incorporation of body part terms into the verbal complex; and the semantics of auxiliary verbs.

This grammar is theoretically eclectic, drawing on whatever grammatical tools best achieve the aim of describing Ngan’gityemerri. It is written in straightforward language and contains a large number of natural language examples will best allow the reader to judge the accuracy and internal consistency of the description.

ISBN 9783862881000. Outstanding grammars from Australia 06. 468pp. 2011.

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