A grammar of Paluai: the language of Baluan Island, Papua New Guinea

Schokkin, Gerda Hendrike (2014) A grammar of Paluai: the language of Baluan Island, Papua New Guinea. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.25903/tpm1-j309


This thesis is a reference grammar of Paluai, an Austronesian language belonging to the Admiralties subgroup of Oceanic. Paluai is spoken on Baluan Island in the Manus Province of Papua New Guinea. It is predominantly isolating, with comparatively little productive morphology. Bound morphology is of the agglutinating type: morpheme boundaries are clear. The language is predominantly head-marking. Basic constituent order is SV for intransitive clauses and AVO for transitive clauses. However, constituents such as Objects, Obliques and Possessors can be fronted to pre-subject position via a topicalisation operation.

The two major word classes are noun and verb (with a major subclass of stative verbs), with adjectives and adverbs as minor classes distinguished from both noun and verb and each other. Verb to noun and verb to adjective derivations are very common, but not vice versa. Most predicates are headed by a verb complex, but nouns, adjectives, numerals and some prepositions can also function as predicate head. Only verbs, however, can take bound pronouns and be modified by TAM particles. The pronominal system distinguishes singular, dual, paucal and plural number. There is a distinction between direct and indirect nominal possession based on alienability.

The verb complex consists of a main verb and optional preverbal particles and postverbal coverbs to express aspect, modality, directionality and adverbial meanings. Reality status is expressed by a prefix to the verb complex. There is extensive verb serialisation with a variety of types, including cause-effect, valency-changing, adverbial and directional Serial Verb Constructions. S/A arguments are cross-referenced on the verb complex by a bound pronoun proclitic; O arguments are cross-referenced by an enclitic if they refer to animate beings and the full NP is elided. Oblique arguments are never cross-referenced on the verb, and the form of the marker depends on an animacy distinction. There is a causative prefix and an applicative suffix, but no passive operation.

The thesis consists of 12 chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the socio-cultural background of the Paluai speakers, the language family and work on related languages, and assesses language vitality. Chapter 2 describes the phonology. Chapter 3 discusses open word classes, including nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs with their subclasses, and derivational processes. Chapter 4 addresses closed word classes and grammatical systems such as pronouns, demonstratives, adpositions, numerals, quantifiers, question markers, conjunctions and interjections. Chapter 5 describes the structure of the noun phrase, and discusses nominal categories such as the distinction between direct and indirect possession. Chapter 6 is about the structure of verbal predicates, and discusses verbal categories including aspect, reality status and modality. Chapter 7 discusses nonverbal predicates, headed by a member of a word class other than verb. Chapter 8 addresses valency and grammatical relations, including alignment of core and peripheral arguments, transitivity classes and valency-changing operations. Chapter 9 discusses the various types of Serial Verb Constructions and their functions. Chapter 10 deals with speech act distinctions, including interrogative, imperative, and declarative sentences, and polarity, including negation of verbal and verbless clauses. Chapter 11 discusses clause types, including dependent clauses (relative, complement and adverbial clauses), and the semantics of clause linking. Chapter 12 addresses topics in pragmatics and discourse, including information structure, anaphors and cataphors, and topicalisation.

Item ID: 28026
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Austronesia; Austronesian; Baluan Island; dialects; grammar; languages; linguistics; Manus Province; Paluai; Pam Island; Pam-Baluan; Papua New Guinea; PNG
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 06:12
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160103 Linguistic Anthropology @ 33%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2003 Language Studies > 200320 Pacific Languages @ 33%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 34%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 34%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage @ 33%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939906 Pacific Peoples Education @ 33%
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