This chapter surveys the polysynthetic languages of northern Australia, across four families in three non-contiguous regions: Gunwinyguan (Arnhem Land), Tiwi (Bathurst and Melville Islands), and Southern and Western Daly (Daly River). All are non-Pama-Nyungan. It contextualizes the more detailed treatments of Dalabon (Ch. 43), Southern and Western Daly (Ch. 44), and the acquisition of Murrinh-patha (Ch. 26) by bringing out the typological similarities and differences in polysynthetic languages, with a particular focus on pathways of change between more and less polysynthetic structures. Australian polysynthetic languages exhibit little morphological fusion, and all are basically templatic. However, there are significant differences in noun and verb incorporation, applicatives and other valency-changing operations, and the degree of subordinating morphology, illustrated by comparing the closely related Dalabon and Bininj Gun-wok. Perhaps the biggest difference is the presence of a bipartite structure in the Southern Daly languages. The chapter closes by surveying the main trajectories by which morphological complexity increases or diminishes in the languages of northern Australia.
|Title of host publication||The Oxford Handbook of Polysynthesis|
|Editors||Michael Fortescue, Marianne Mithun & Nicholas Evans|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|