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LWM 11: Gunin (Kwini)

Product no.: ISBN 9783929075090
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Gunin (Kwini)

William McGregor
University of Melbourne

Gunin is spoken by a small number of people presently residing at Kalumburu on the far northern coast of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is a non­Pama­Nyungan language, belonging to the Worrorran or Northern Kimberley family. Phonologically it is unremarkable for an Australian language, except that (like its close relative Wunambal) it distinguishes six vowels: a, e, i, o, u and i. Among its interesting grammatical characteristics are the following. The verbal construction is of the preverb­inflecting verb type: an invariant verbal particle is followed by an inflecting verb which carries pronominal prefixes cross­referencing the subject and object (in transitive clauses); these operate on a nominative­accusative system. Tense and other verbal categories are also marked on the inflecting verb. Five noun classes are distinguished, marked by agreement prefixes on adjectives and by cross­referencing pronominals in the verb. Some inalienably possessed nominals are prefixed by a pronominal cross­referencing the possessor, and most kinterms take pronominal suffixes indicating the possessor.

Gunin grammar has not previously been described, and indeed very little information has been recorded about the language. The description is based primarily on three hours elicitation, and half a dozen narrative texts which the author was able to record during a speaker's visit to Derby in 1988.

ISBN 9783929075090. Languages of the World/Materials 11. 64pp. 1993.

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