Do linguistic properties influence expressive potential? The case of two Australian diminutives (Gunwinyguan family)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although expressivity is indisputably a crucial function of lan-guage, expressive features have often been neglected in linguistic descriptions. After discussing how this lack can reflect a gender bias in language documen-tation, this article recruits first-hand data from two Australian Aboriginal languages to explore whether the grammatical properties of individual languages can influence the semantics of their expressive resources. The study compares diminutives found in Dalabon and Rembarrnga, two Gunwinyguan languages spoken in the same cultural environment. The comparison shows that in spite of many mismatching linguistic properties, the emotions that these diminutives can express remain remarkably stable, suggesting strong socio-cultural constraints in this semantic domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-190
Number of pages34
JournalAnthropological Linguistics
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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