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Case-marking in contact: the development   Case-marking in contact: the development... - PDF Document (13 M)
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Citation Meakins, F. (2008). Case-marking in contact: the development and function of case morphology in Gurindji Kriol, an Australian mixed language. PhD thesis, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne.
Handle 10187/1997
Title Case-marking in contact: the development and function of case morphology in Gurindji Kriol, an Australian mixed language
Creator Meakins, Felicity
Date 2008
Subject / Keywords Gurindji Kriol, Gurindji, Kriol, Australian language, mixed language, case-marking, case morphology, language contact, creole, contact language
Abstract This thesis is an investigation of case morphology in a mixed language, Gurindji Kriol. Gurindji Kriol is spoken by the Gurindji people in northern Australia. It fuses Gurindji, which is a member of the Ngumpin-Yapa subgroup of the Pama-Nyungan family, with Kriol, which is an English-lexifier creole spoken across the north of Australia. Gurindji Kriol exhibits a structural split between the NP and VP systems, but is lexically quite mixed. Kriol provides much of the verbal grammar including tense and mood auxiliaries, and transitive, aspect and derivational morphology. Most of the NP structure is of Gurindji origin including case and derivational morphology. Lexically, nominals and verbs are derived from both source languages. In form, the various sub-systems of Gurindji Kriol bear a close resemblance to their source languages. However contact and competition between Gurindji and Kriol in the process of the formation of the mixed language has altered the function and distribution of these systems, including the Gurindji-derived case morphology. The aim of this thesis is three-fold: (i) to provide the first detailed socio-historical and grammatical description of Gurindji Kriol (§2 and §A1), (ii) to propose a path by which Gurindji case morphology was incorporated into the Gurindji Kriol clause (§3-§5), and (iii) to demonstrate changes in the use of four case markers quantitatively (§6-§9).
I focus on the development and function of case morphology because it is here that the character of Gurindji Kriol emerges most clearly. The behaviour of inflectional morphology in language contact provides a good litmus test for the relative strengths of interacting languages. In cases of code-switching or borrowing, the dominant language can be diagnosed, in part, by the resilience of its inflectional morphology, with the weaker language generally only contributing lexical material to the mix (Muysken, 2000, Myers-Scotton, 2002). Thus the presence of Gurindji inflectional morphology within a Kriol verbal frame is unusual, and is indicative of the equal weighting given to Gurindji and Kriol in the morphosyntactic frame of the mixed language. This degree of syntactic intertwining has been observed in a number of other mixed languages, namely Michif (Bakker, 1997), Mednyj Aleut (Golovko, 1994) and Light Warlpiri (O'Shannessy, 2005) (§3).
In contact situations where inflectional morphology from both languages is present, it is difficult to identify the direction of transfer of linguistic material. Such a diachronic analysis is possible for Gurindji Kriol because Gurindji-Kriol code-switching data from a prior stage is available (McConvell, 1998, McConvell and Meakins, 2005). On the basis of a comparison between this code-switching data and the mixed language data, I show that Kriol provided the morpho-syntactic frame for code-switching with Gurindji case marking incrementally integrated via nominal adjuncts during the formation of Gurindji Kriol (§4). I analyse these nominal adjuncts as alternational structures, in the sense of Muysken's (2000) typology of code-switching (§5). This comparison provides empirical evidence which supports the notion that mixed languages can derive from a prior code-switching stage, and challenges the assumption that only insertional code-switching is responsible for mixed language genesis.
The Gurindji Kriol case markers also provide a unique window on the processes involved in mixedlanguage genesis. Unlike other subsystems of this mixed language which have stabilised, the case-markingremains in contact and competition with Kriol equivalents, such as prepositions. Though case morphologyis the favoured system for marking syntactic and spatial relations, the replication of this Gurindji systemcontinues to be influenced by Kriol. I examine four case markers within specific functional domains todemonstrate various contact outcomes including double-marking, convergence and functional shift.Specifically, the dative marker marks possessive constructions, however the in/alienability distinctionfound in Gurindji has been lost (§6); double marking of locations using the locative case marker andequivalent Kriol preposition is the emergent form of younger Gurindji Kriol speakers (§7), convergencebetween Gurindji and Kriol has resulted in the extension of the Gurindji locative marker into goal markingunder the influence of a general Kriol locational preposition (§8), and finally the ergative marker's role inargument marking has been largely supplanted by word order and it now marks information structure (§9).
Type PhD thesis
Language eng
Notes © 2008 Dr. Felicity Meakins
Publication Status Unpublished
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Faculty/Department Arts, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Institution University of Melbourne
Collection Research Collections (UMER)
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