A grammar of Kuuk Thaayorre by Alice R. Gaby

By Alice R. Gaby

This grammar bargains a accomplished description of Kuuk Thaayorre, a Paman language spoken at the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. The Paman languages of Cape York have lengthy been well-known for his or her exhibition of substantial phonological, semantic and morphosyntactic swap (e.g. Hale 1964, Dixon 1980). but there has before been no released complete reference grammar of a language from this quarter (some very good dictionaries, theses and comic strip grammars even though, e.g. corridor 1972, Alpher 1973, 1991, Crowley 1983, Kilham et al. 1986, Sutton 1995, Smith & Johnson 2000).

On the root of elicited facts, narrative and semi-spontaneous dialog recorded among 2002 and 2008, in addition to archival fabrics, this grammar info the phonetics and phonology, morphosyntax, lexical and constructional semantics and pragmatics of 1 of the few indigenous Australian languages nonetheless used as a major technique of communique. Kuuk Thaayorre possesses gains of typological curiosity at every one of those levels.

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Cf. also Breen (1992) on Kukatj retroflex stops. 29 Chapter 2 /ʔ/ → [ʔ] ~ [+creaky voice] / [α] _ [α] → [ʔ] / elsewhere The creaky voice allophone is found only between identical segments. Hence /in̪ʔn̪uŋun/ is frequently pronounced [in̪̰:uŋun], and /waʔap/ pronounced [wa̰:p]. It seems that the creaky voice realisation of the glottal stop may lead to the eventual loss of this phoneme. There are few tokens of the glottal stop in any stretch of Thaayorre discourse, but also notably fewer in the speech of the young than in that of elders.

But since I am in most cases unable to reconstruct their rationale for ascribing reduced vowels to full vowel phonemes, I have chosen not to follow their transcriptions except where there is independent evidence. 1 Permissible monosyllables The Thaayorre lexicon contains an unusually large number of monosyllables for an Australian language. These monosyllables must be minimally bimoraic, possessing either or both a long vowel nucleus and coda. There also appears to be a limit on the maximum syllable weight, with three-consonant codas permissible following a short vowel but not a long one.

Inventory of Thaayorre vowel phonemes. This ten-vowel system is rich by Australian standards; Dixon (2002:643) lists only twelve Australian languages (including Kuuk Thaayorre) that distinguish more than three vowels as well as a phonemic length contrast. Nevertheless, the phonetic distributions of the Thaayorre vowels are not unusual, particularly in the local context. Kugu Nganhcara and Pakanh, for example, have identical vowel systems (Gaby, field notes), Uw Oykangand and Uw Olkola distinguish the same five vowel qualities (though not length; Hamilton 1996), and Yir Yoront possesses these same five short vowels as well as a phonemic schwa (Alpher 1991:7).

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