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Title: Descriptions of motion and travel in Jaminjung and Kriol
Author: Hoffmann, Dorothea
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis provides an in-depth analysis of motion event descriptions of two Australian indigenous languages. Jaminjung is a highly endangered non Pama-Nyungan language with approximately 50 remaining speakers. Kriol, an English-lexified Creole, is spoken by about 20.000 people in different varieties across northern Australia. While the languages are typologically very different, occupancy of the same linguistic and cultural area provides an intriguing opportunity to examine the effects of culture and language contact on conceptual components and distribution patterns in discourse. This investigation also applies and tests a number of existing frameworks and typologies regarding the linguistic encoding of motion and space in general. The thesis first provides an overview of the encoding of motion event descriptions in Jaminjung and Kriol. It becomes clear that, concerning overt marking of case, ground-encodings follow a systematic semantic pattern with no or rare case-marking for deictic terms, optional marking for toponyms and mandatory marking for all other types of landmarks. Furthermore, the structure and semantics of the motion verb phrase is investigated. Particularly noteworthy here is a study of asymmetrical serial verb constructions in Kriol which revealed a number of previously undescribed types. Following this, various proposals for a typology of Frames of Reference are applied. The notion of ‘anchor’ is at the centre of the analysis. The investigation shows that contextual restrictions for the use of Jaminjung’s absolute terms can be accounted for by a restriction on egocentric anchoring and ‘Orientation’ settings only. Furthermore, absolute Frame of Reference is realised differently in Roper and Westside Kriol respectively, suggesting an ongoing influence of the traditional languages spoken by the respective communities rather than the lexifier English. Jaminjung and Kriol, additionally, prefer the use of absolute over relative Frame of Reference. The following chapter investigates how lexicalisation patterns influence the distribution of path and manner encodings in discourse. After concluding that Jaminjung might best be described as following an equipollently-framed pattern and Kriol as satellite-framed, path and manner salience is investigated in different types of discourse using a dataset of motion event encodings in a Frog Story collection and a general corpus of various discourse environments. It is concluded that while the two languages behave very differently with regards to frequency patterns of ground- and other path-encodings, they show remarkable similarities in distributing path and manner over larger chunks of discourse. These findings suggest that cultural influences may sometimes override structural typological constraints. Finally, motion event encodings in specific types of discourse are analysed. Regarding route descriptions, speakers show a clear preference for dynamic over static modes of presentation. This includes encoding ‘fictive motion’ events for which a figure- and ground-based distinction is introduced. Additionally, concerning the use of deictics in a comparative analysis of different types of corpora for both languages, it was shown that the distribution of absolute terms remains stable across discourse environments while deictic usage differs drastically. Lastly, the concept of ‘motion’ is abstracted and described as a kind of structuring device in narratives. It is shown that the ‘journey’ within the story world is used by speakers of both languages to bridge episodes sometimes even overriding a temporal in favour of a spatial order of events.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Typology ; Language Documentation ; Lexical Semantics ; Australian Languages ; Discourse ; Space and Motion ; Narrative Structure ; Frames of Reference ; Lexicalisation Patterns