Colloquium: "From the NP to the paragraph: A polyfunctional morpheme in Nungon, a Papuan language"

Event Date: 

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 3:30pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 3605

Hannah Sarvasy: James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

From the NP to the Paragraph: A Polyfunctional Morpheme in Nungon, a Papuan Language
In the Papuan language Nungon of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, the polyfunctional morpheme ma occurs in various contexts. Ma may occur after adjectives, NPs, and inflected final verbs; it may also begin a sentence after a pause in discourse. Context determines each function of ma, but every function may be traced to ma’s inherent role as specifier. I argue that the polyfunctional ma in Nungon is a single morpheme, the various functions of which are determined by context. The most unusual development in Nungon, in contrast to its closest linguistic kin, is that ma now distinguishes the Remote Future tense inflectional paradigm from the Irrealis paradigm in Nungon.