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Workshop: Directionality or associated motion? Evidence from diverse languages, 22 June

Australian National University

Date: 19 June 2018

Workshop: Directionality or associated motion? Evidence from diverse languages

Where: Baldessin Precinct Building W118, ANU

When: Friday June 22, 8.45am-1.00pm


Associated motion (AM) is a verbal category whose function is to associate a motion event with the main activity expressed by the verb (Koch 1984). Associated motion markers relate the motion event to the main event temporally (Rose 2015); that is, they may express whether the motion occurs before, subsequent to or concurrently with the main action. For example:

(1)  Atne     nte                   athe-yene-ne.

       Shit      you.ERG         excrete-go.and-IMP

       You go and shit. (Koch 1984:27)

In contrast, directionals are morphemes which indicate the direction of a motion verb, or more broadly, the path of an activity (Schokkin 2013:170; Rose 2015:117). They may be anchored in an absolute frame of reference, deictically, or a combination of the two (cf. Schokkin 2013).

Cases exist where the borders between directionality and associated motion are blurry. In Taqbaylit Berber (North Africa), the directional clitic =dmarks venitive path semantics (Belkadi 2015:50). Consider this example:

(2)  t-γra                             =d                   taktaf

       3S-read.PRF               =venitive         book

       She read the book and came back. (Belkadi 2015:50)

Belkadi (2015) analyses this as encoding a motion event subsequent to the action of the main verb, and calls this usage Deictic Associated Motion (D-AM). The motion is oriented both deictically and temporally to the main event. Belkadi (2015) describes this as a deictic directional functioning as an associated motion marker.

In Bininj Gun-wok (Arnhem Land), some dialects have two directional prefixes: m-(‘towards’) and bal-(‘away’/‘along’). Evans (2003) writes that “with some verbs the ‘towards’ motion may not be part of the verbal predicate itself, but of some contextually obvious subsequent, prior or concurrent action” (490):

(3)  Yi-m-yerrng-ma-ø!


       You pick up the wood (and bring it here). (Evans 2003:490)

The question arises as to whether these cases are best explained as a type of associated motion using deictic directionals, or as extended, pragmatically-driven interpretations of directionals.

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the full typological spectrum, from associated motion to directionality, focusing particularly on this difficult border zone between them. 


The program for the workshop tomorrow, Friday 22 June, has been finalised and is below. All are welcome to attend for all or part of the morning. If you would like to join us for lunch, please let me (Lauren Reed) know ( so I can book a table.






Arrive 8.45am for 9.00am-sharp start


Harold Koch

Kaytetye: A complex associated motion system


Jane Simpson

Associated motion in Warumungu


John Giacon

Associated motion in Gamilaraay 


Patrick McConvell

The loss of directional verb suffixes in Gurindji


Denise Angelo

Associated motion in Kriol





Nick Evans

Nen directionals


Lauren Reed

A directional prefix as marker of associated motion in Ende


Dineke Schokkin

Preverbal directionals as markers of associated motion in Paluai


Naomi Peck

Directionality and associated motion in Tibeto-Burman languages



School of Music cafe

Please contact Lauren Reed ( for further information.

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