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Typology Research

Date: 17 July 2017

The latest issue of Linguistic Typology is out now, with two articles featuring research from CoEDL members.

 CoEDL Chief Investigators Felicity Meakins (University of Queensland) and Rachel Nordlinger (University of Melbourne) present evidence for a possessive construction in the Ngumpin-Yapa languages of Australia that has interesting implications for crosslinguistic models of agreement. Within the particular possessive construction they report on, found in Bilinarra, Gurindji and other Ngumpin-Yapa languages of northern Australia, they find a mismatch in the morphosyntactic encoding of the possessor. The construction has interesting typological and theoretical implications, which arise from its involving clause-level (verbal) agreement with an NP that is embedded within a clausal argument, rather than being a clausal argument itself. 

In another paper in the same issue, CoEDL Research Fellows Timothy Brickell and Stefan Schnell take the theory of ‘Preferred Argument Structure’, developed by John Du Bois, and test it against corpus data from Tondano, which is an Austronesian language with ‘symmetrical voice’. Although the system of symmetrical voice would, in principle, allow speakers to allocate different types of information to fixed structural positions in a transitive sentence, thereby enhancing discourse processing, speakers do not exploit these structural possibilities in the way predicted under Preferred Argument Structure theory. Instead, only the order of elements in a sentence is relevant for information management. Their findings ultimately add to recent critical assessments of PAS theory.

CoEDL and the ANU are looking forward to hosting the 12th Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology in December, information for which you can find here.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University