Morphology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 57–87

Borrowing contextual inflection: evidence from northern Australia

Authors

    • School of Languages and Comparative CulturesUniversity of Queensland
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11525-010-9163-4

Cite this article as:
Meakins, F. Morphology (2011) 21: 57. doi:10.1007/s11525-010-9163-4

Abstract

Gurindji Kriol is a north Australian mixed language which combines lexical and structural elements from Gurindji (Pama-Nyungan), and Kriol (English-lexifier). One of the more striking features of the grammar of Gurindji Kriol is the presence of the Gurindji case paradigm including ergative and dative case-markers within a Kriol verbal frame. Given the fragility of inflectional morphology in other language contact situations, particularly contextual inflections such as structural case markers, this situation bears closer scrunity. This paper argues that the presence of Gurindji case morphology is the result of pervasive code-switching practices which immediately preceded the genesis of the mixed language. As the code-switching stabilised into a mixed language, case-marking was integrated into predicate argument structure of Gurindji Kriol via nominal adjunct structures. Yet, these case markers were not absorbed unscathed. Although the Gurindji Kriol case paradigm bears a close resemblance to its Gurindji source in form, these case markers have not been perfectly replicated in function and distribution. Contact with Kriol functional equivalents such as prepositions and word order have altered the function and distribution of these case markers. The last part of this paper examines the shift that has occurred in Gurindji-derived case morphology in Gurindji Kriol.

Keywords

BorrowingCode-switchingMixed languageGurindji KriolInflectional morphologyContextual inflectionCase marker

Abbreviations

ABL

Ablative

ALL

Allative

AUX

Auxiliary

COM

Comitative

DAT

Dative

DU

Dual

DYAD

Kinship pair

ERG

Ergative

FOC

Focus

FUT

Future

IMPF

Imperfect

INC

Inclusive

LOC

Locative

NEG

Negative

O

Object

OBL

Oblique

PAUC

Paucal

PERF

Perfect

PL

Plural

PROG

Progressive

PRS

Present

PST

Past

QN

Question nominal

S

Subject

SG

Singular

TAG

Tag question

TOP

Topic

TR

Transitive

1

First person

2

Second person

3

Third person

-

Morpheme break

=

Clitic break

>

Acting on

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010