Morphology and sentence construction in Kurrama: a language of the Pilbara Region of Western Australia

Peter Hill

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This thesis addresses the nature of simple and complex sentence constructions in Kurrama, an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Kurrama has only a few remaining older speakers. The data on which this research is based consists of materials recorded by Alan Dench, in the 1980’s and 1990's, with two Kurrama speakers †Algy Paterson and †Judy July plus material collected by the author, in 2007, with the assistance of Maudie Dowton and Thomas Cox. Little research has been done previously on the Kurrama variety. O’Grady (1966) classified Kurrama as a member of the Ngayarda subgroup of Pama-Nyungan, placing it in a dialect relationship with Yindjibarndi. Dench (2009: 261-262) avoids a genetic classification and has instead identified ‘three typologically distinct (and) geographically delimited groups of languages’ in the Pilbara region: the Northern Pilbara languages, the Central Pilbara languages and the Southern Pilbara languages. Kurrama is placed in the Central Pilbara group and like other languages of this group features a consistent pattern of nominative-accusative case alignment and an active-passive voice contrast in transitive and ditransitive clauses. As part of the investigation in this study comparisons are made between the Kurrama and Yindjibarndi dialects. However, the focus of this thesis is on Kurrama sentence construction. The thesis addresses the following related research questions: 1. What are the differing types of simple and complex sentences used in Kurrama? 2. How are these simple and complex sentences constructed? 3. What are the salient characteristics of these sentences? Chapters 2 to 5 focus on Kurrama morphology and identify the forms and functions of the parts of speech that make up Kurrama sentences.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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