Martuthunira: A language of the Pilbara region of Western by Alan Charles Dench

By Alan Charles Dench

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Extra resources for Martuthunira: A language of the Pilbara region of Western Australia

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4), and the related sequential relative suffix -rrawaara, effects a change in the form of a preceding Ø-conjugation verb-stem where that stem has a final /a/ vowel: the final /a/ is replaced with /i/. nyina-rra wangka-rra ∅ ∅ nyinirra wangkirra The modern suffix form -rra descends from a form *-yarra, and so the vowel replacement can be explained, in diachronic terms, as the lingering of the fronting effects of the palatal glide in the original Ø-conjugation allomorph. The common verb nyina-Ø ‘sit, be’ is similarly affected by the present relative inflection -nyila.

There are few examples involving a consonant-final word. A few morphemes that may be suffixed to consonant final stems violate the usual constraints on word initial consonants. Two different strategies are employed to avoid nonpermissible clusters that would otherwise arise in this situation. Firstly, the syllable /pa/ (following a final nasal) or /wa/ (following a lateral or the alveolar rhotic) is inserted preceding the clitic -rru. In the examples presented in this description, this ’empty morph’ -pa is set apart from the stem to which it is attached and is glossed as zero (-Ø): pirtan-pa-rru quartz-Ø-NOW minthal-wa-rru alone-Ø-NOW kanparr-wa-rru spider-Ø-NOW 34 The use of a syllable /pa/ to avoid certain phonotactic constraints is very common in languages of Western Australia, the best known example being the addition of the syllable to consonant final stems in a number of the Western Desert dialects (Dixon 1980:209).

The one exception to this involves the variation between apicals affecting the future inflection on verbs and the clitics -l and -nu. 7). This section is organised by recurring morphophonemic processes. Thus different allomorphs of one and the same morpheme may be described in different subsections according to the range of processes involved in the full complement of alternative forms. Full sets of allomorphs for each particular morpheme are given with the introduction of the set of functions of each morpheme in the following chapters.

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