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Title: Biak morphosyntax
Author: Mofu, Suriel Semuel
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is a general description of the morphology and syntax of the Biak language. The Biak language belongs to the West New Guinea subgroup of the Austronesian language family and is spoken by around 50,000 to 70,000 speakers in West Papua in the northern part of the Geelvink Bay. The thesis consists of 7 main chapters that cover demographic and ethnographic information of the language, morphology, grammatical categories, basic constituent order, noun compounding and denominalization, relative clauses, and predicate nominal constructions. The main findings of the thesis are: • The Biak language is predominantly a head-initial language. • The Biak language has morphological variation from monomorphemic to polymorphemic with the polymorphemic being the dominant pattern in the language. • Inflectional patterns on verbal and prepositional predicates, demonstratives, and possessive pronouns are divided into two patterns: the consonantal pattern and the vocal pattern. • Biak has alienable and inalienable nouns. Alienability in Biak is a syntactic distinction, not exactly corresponding to the semantic distinction. • The basic constituent order is SVO or AVP. Variations occur with predicate nominal (OV) and internally headed relative clause which uses SOV pattern. • Three types of relative clauses were identified: (i) Post nominal relative clause; (ii) Headless relative clause; and, (iii) Internally headed relative clause. The Biak language allows stacked and nested relative clauses. Two kinds of predicate nominal constructions were identified: (i) copular clitics (clitic –ri, -s-, and free pronoun clitics) and (ii) copular verbs –iri and iso. The two kinds of predicate nominal constructions can be distinguished syntactically.
Supervisor: Dalrymple, Mary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; Biak language ; morphology ; syntax