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Title: A fieldwork-based approach to Blanga (Blablanga), an Austronesian language of the Solomon Islands, with reference to predicate-argument relations
Author: Voica, Radu
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0637
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the structure of Blanga (iso 639-3 code blp), a previously undescribed and undocumented Austronesian language of the Solomon Islands. It opens with a sociolinguistic and ethnographic introduction to the language, their speakers and the linguistic ecology of the region, followed by a presentation of the main phonological features and an analysis of some major phonological processes, including strategies for hiatus avoidance, which constitute the base of several surface phenomena, and stress assignment, the theoretical importance of which is also revealed by surface processes. A detailed description of major morphological and morphosyntactic aspects is then made available, which continues with a discussion of Aktionsart, types of predicates and their subcategorisation frames, in an attempt to define thematic roles and identify macroroles, according to the RRG principles of lexical decomposition. Sentence-level coordination and subordination are subsequently looked at. The final chapters focus on the relations established between a predicate and its (direct) arguments and their implications for the general theory. Blanga does not use formal means of encoding semantic roles but the speakers are able to identify them based on their intuitions of verb semantics, on pragmatic and cultural knowledge, and on discourse context. There is also considerable variation in the language with respect to the order of constituents in a clause, which, in conjunction with morphosyntactic markers and prosody is used to encode topic and focus. Blanga, therefore, employs completely different means of encoding the two primary sets of predicate-argument relations. Because of the lack of a voice distinction and of other constructions in the language, evidence for the necessity of employing a third set, that of grammatical relations, is limited to verb agreement, Equi-NP coreference, coreference in chained clauses and, partially, causativisation, which comes to confirm their construction-specific character.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral