A grammar of Oksapmin
AffiliationFaculty of Arts, Languages and Linguistics
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsLoughnane, R. (2009). A grammar of Oksapmin. PhD thesis, Faculty of Arts, Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
Deposited with permission of the author © 2009 Dr. Robyn Loughnane.
This thesis describes the features of the phonology, morphology and syntax of Oksapmin, a Papuan (Non-Austronesian) language of Papua New Guinea. Oksapmin is spoken by around 8000 people, most of whom reside in the Tekin valley in Sandaun Province. The analysis in this thesis is based on the study of data from both elicitation and text collection undertaken on two field trips between 2004 and 2006: from May to October 2004, and from October 2005 to January 2006. A general introduction is provided in Chapter 1, phonology, phonotactics and morphophonology are discussed in Chapter 2, word classes in Chapter 3, demonstratives in Chapter 4, nouns in Chapter 5, postpositions in Chapter 6, noun phrase syntax in Chapter 7, verbs in Chapter 8, coverbs in Chapter 9, clausal syntax in Chapter 10, phrasal clitics in Chapter 11, and clause combining in Chapter 12. Four sample texts are provided as appendices. Sound files are provided on the accompanying CD for many of the examples scattered throughout the thesis, as well as for all the texts in the appendices. The most interesting and important grammatical subsystem in Oksapmin is the evidential one, which permeates various areas of the grammar. Without proper knowledge of this system, one cannot make a single grammatical sentence in the language. Recall that evidentiality is, roughly speaking, when a speaker marks how he or she came about the knowledge on which a given utterance is based. Evidentiality in Oksapmin is indicated with past tense verbal inflection, with enclitics, and with a number of other constructions. The evidential system is typologically unusual in that the primary contrast it marks is participatory/factual versus visual/sensory evidence; this distinction is made in the verbal inflection. Participatory/factual evidentials are not widely attested cross-linguistically, and those systems that do exist have been largely ignored in the typological literature. Some of the other areas of grammar discussed in this thesis include prenasalised consonants with nasal allophones, noun phrases with a complex syntactic structure, a range of demonstratives which distinguish for elevation, a large vocabulary of kin terms including a set of dyadic kin terms, extensive use of complex predicates consisting of a light verb plus a coverb, and a variety of clause combining strategies including clause chaining.
Keywordslinguistics; evidentiality; Oksapmin; grammatical description; Papuan languages; Trans New Guinea languages; Ok languages; Papua New Guinea
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