School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Category Clustering and Morphological Learning
    Mansfield, J ; Saldana, C ; Hurst, P ; Nordlinger, R ; Stoll, S ; Bickel, B ; Perfors, A (WILEY, 2022-02-01)
    Inflectional affixes expressing the same grammatical category (e.g., subject agreement) tend to appear in the same morphological position in the word. We hypothesize that this cross-linguistic tendency toward category clustering is at least partly the result of a learning bias, which facilitates the transmission of morphology from one generation to the next if each inflectional category has a consistent morphological position. We test this in an online artificial language experiment, teaching adult English speakers a miniature language consisting of noun stems representing shapes and suffixes representing the color and number features of each shape. In one experimental condition, each suffix category has a fixed position, with color in the first position and number in the second position. In a second condition, each specific combination of suffixes has a fixed order, but some combinations have color in the first position, and some have number in the first position. In a third condition, suffixes are randomly ordered on each presentation. While the language in the first condition is consistent with the category clustering principle, those in the other conditions are not. Our results indicate that category clustering of inflectional affixes facilitates morphological learning, at least in adult English speakers. Moreover, we found that languages that violate category clustering but still follow fixed affix ordering patterns are more learnable than languages with random ordering. Altogether, our results provide evidence for individual biases toward category clustering; we suggest that this bias may play a causal role in shaping the typological regularities in affix order we find in natural language.
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    Wambaya, Gudanji, Binbinka and Ngarnka Plants and Animals: Aboriginal biocultural knowledge from Gulf of Carpentaria and the Barkly Tablelands, north Australia.
    Grueman, MN ; Nimara, MN ; Hogan, MB ; O'Keefe, PB ; Mawson, PY ; Baker, KB ; Warnbiyaji, PJ ; Hubbard, LN ; Maanula, GJ ; Heath, J ; Nordlinger, R ; Wightman, G (Tennant Creek: Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security & Papulu Apparr-kari Aboriginal Corporation, 2021)
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    An LFG approach to Icelandic reciprocal constructions
    Hurst, P ; Nordlinger, R ; Arka, IW ; Asudeh, A ; Holloway King, T (Oxford University Press, 2021)
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    Bridging Australian Indigenous language learner’s guides with SLA materials development frameworks
    Chiang, YT ; Zhao, H ; Nordlinger, R (Routledge, 2021-01-01)
    The learner’s guide (LG) is a genre of pedagogical materials for Australian Indigenous languages, but LGs developed by field linguists are often questioned regarding their capacity to effectively facilitate language learning and, eventually, language revitalisation. This reflects a gap in the literature where applied linguistics perspectives are limited in Indigenous language studies, and vice versa. This study aims to address this gap by examining nine existing LGs published over the past four decades using a modified framework based on Tomlinson’s guidelines for second language acquisition (SLA) materials development. Findings show that the LGs are designed based on one of the three model types: (1) Type 1: non-communicative grammar-based, (2) Type 2: practice-integrated grammar-based, and (3) Type 3: text-driven meaning-based, among which the text-driven model has, theoretically speaking, the best potential to achieve pedagogical purposes. Yet, in general, existing LGs likely fail to equip learners with communicative competence. Other issues of greater complexity are also raised, including material comprehensibility and limited resources. A critical implication for the field is the necessity of empirical needs analyses for future LG development. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2021.1970179.
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    Positional dependency in Murrinhpatha: expanding the typology of non-canonical morphotactics
    Nordlinger, R ; Mansfield, J (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2021-01-27)
    Principles of morphotactics are a major source of morphological diversity amongst the world’s languages, and it is well-known that languages exhibit many different types of deviation from a canonical ideal in which there is a unique and consistent mapping between function and form. In this paper we present data from Murrinhpatha (non-Pama-Nyungan, northern Australia) that demonstrates a type of non-canonical morphotactics so far unattested in the literature, one which we call positional dependency. This type is unusual in that the non-canonical pattern is driven by morphological form rather than by morphosyntactic function. In this case the realisation of one morph is dependent on the position in the verbal template of another morph. Thus, it is the linearisation of morphs that conditions the morphological realisation, not the morphosyntactic feature set. Positional dependency in Murrinhpatha thus expands our typology of content-form interactions and non-canonical morphotactics with implications for our understanding of morphological structure cross-linguistically.
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    Demorphologization and deepening complexity in Murrinhpatha.
    Mansfield, J ; Nordlinger, R ; Arkadiev, P ; Gardani, F (Oxford University Press, 2020-09-24)
    This volume explores the multiple aspects of morphological complexity, offering typological, acquisitional, sociolinguistic, and diachronic perspectives.
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    From body part to applicative: Encoding ‘source’ in Murrinhpatha
    Nordlinger, R (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2019)
    Murrinhpatha (non-Pama-Nyungan, Australia) is typologically unusual in having a single applicative construction with the semantics of source/malefactive, but never benefactive. In this paper I discuss the development of this applicative from an incorporated body part meaning ‘hand’. I show that the applicative developed from a reanalysis of the external possession construction; and that the applicative morphology developed from the incorporated body part, rather than from a verbal or adpositional source. This contributes to our understanding of the typology of applicative constructions and also highlights the value in exploring the complex verbal constructions of polysynthetic languages to inform our understanding of grammaticalisation possibilities.
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    Working at the interface: the Daly Languages project
    Nordlinger, R ; Green, I ; Hurst, P ; Barwick, L ; Green, J ; Vaarzon-Morel, P (University of Hawaii Press, 2019)
    In this paper we present the Daly Languages Project (www.dalylanguages.org), funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, and in collaboration with the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC), which has developed website landing pages for all of the languages of the Daly region of northern Australia. These landing pages provide a useful and usable interface by which a range of users can access primary recordings, fieldnotes, and other resources about the Daly languages; they are powered by a relational database which allows for easy updating, ensuring consistency across the website and allowing for an immediate response to community requests. Moreover, since the website is built with a commitment to open source, it is available for other researchers to adapt to their own projects and language groups. In this paper we discuss the goals and outcomes of the project, the design and functionality of the website landing pages, and advise readers on how they can access and adapt the open-source framework for their own purposes.
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    Morphology in Lexical-functional Grammar and Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar
    Nordlinger, R ; Sadler, L ; Audring, J ; Masini, F (Oxford University Press, 2019)
    Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) are both lexicalist, non-transformational, constraint-based grammatical frameworks. While they differ in many respects, they share a number of fundamental principles relevant to morphological theory and analysis, which guide the overall architecture of the grammar. The two frameworks also share a common commitment to being fully explicit and implementable, with strong links to computational implementations. This chapter provides an overview of the general approaches to morphology and the morphology-syntax interface taken by researchers working within these frameworks, illustrating the relevant aspects of each framework through discussion of morphological phenomena such as multiple exponence, auxiliaries, case stacking, morphotactics and clitics.
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    Prominent possessor indexing in Gurindji
    Bond, O ; Meakins, F ; Nordlinger, R ; Bárány, A ; Bond, O ; Nikolaeva, I (Oxford University Press, 2019)
    In Gurindji (Ngumpin-Yapa; Australia) bound forms that index the morphosyntactic features of predicate arguments can also index possessors. In prominent alienable possession constructions, internal possessors that are structural dependents of their possessive phrase are indexed for person and number when sufficiently discourse-prominent (e.g. when contrastively focussed), but otherwise do not trigger agreement. In contrast, possessors in inalienable possession constructions are always indexed by agreement clitics. This chapter proposes that examples of this type are not only semantically different from constructions with phrase-internal alienable possessors, but are also structurally different. While Gurindji presents us with genuine examples of prominent internal possessors, inalienable possessors in Gurindji are neither internal nor external possession in a syntactic sense, but rather are best seen as a third type of possession characterized by apposition.