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Academic Paper

Title: Construing confrontation: Grammar in the construction of a key historical narrative in Umpithamu
Author: Jean-Christophe Verstraete
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Leuven
Author: Barbara De Cock
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Institution: Université Catholique de Louvain
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: Umbuygamu
Abstract: This study provides a linguistic perspective on the structure and the interpretation of a key historical narrative in Umpithamu (a Pama-Nyungan language of Cape York Peninsula, Australia), against the background of a larger corpus of narrative texts in Umpithamu. The analysis focuses on the role of participant tracking devices in the macro-structure of the narrative, and the role of case marking in the build-up of narrative motifs. It is argued not only that marked types of participant tracking serve to mark the boundaries of episodes, as often noted in the literature, but also that some types have additional functions within episodes, which leads to a proposal for refinement of Fox's (1987) Principle of Morphosyntactic Markedness. On a micro-structural level, it is shown how a rare system of case marking is used by the narrator to construe white–Aboriginal interactions as events in which the Aboriginal participants experience an extreme lack of control.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 37, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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