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ven. 07/09/2018 Atelier Typologie sémantique
Mudburra associated motion in a genetic and areal perspective
David Osgarby (University of Queensland, Australia)
ISH - Salle Berty Albrecht

Associated motion (AM) in Mudburra (Ngumpin-Yapa, Pama-Nyungan) is expressed by means of verbal suffixes distinguishing two paths of motion: motion away from the deictic centre (itive), and motion towards the deictic centre (ventive). As such Mudburra AM is ‘simple’ according to Guillaume’s (2016) measure of ‘degree of elaboration’, especially in comparison to the highly elaborated systems of Arandic associated motion found to the south of Mudburra, such as Kaytetye (Koch 1984). This presentation describes the forms, functions and distribution of AM markers in Mudburra (Osgarby 2018). The Mudburra AM system makes similar contrasts to that of the unrelated neighbouring language Wambaya (Ngurlun, Mirndi), despite the fact that they possess entirely distinct grammatical structures (Nordlinger 2001). The two-way AM distinction in Mudburra and Wambaya are illustrative of an areal tendency to make only a small number of distinctions in verbal grammatical path of motion markers. Morphology cognate to Mudburra AM suffixes function as deictic directionals in some related languages, and other Ngumpin-Yapa and Ngurlun languages have repurposed the markers of associated motion as makers of tense/aspect/modality: a situation that makes the Northern Central Australia region of particular interest to the study of development and loss of AM systems.


Guillaume, Antoine. 2016. “Associated Motion in South America: Typological and Areal Perspectives.” Linguistic Typology 20 (1): 81–177. https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2016-0003.

Koch, Harold. 1984. “The Category of ‘Associated Motion’ in Kaytej.” Language in Central Australia 1: 23–34.

Nordlinger, Rachel. 2001. “Wambaya in Motion.” In Forty Years on: Ken Hale and Australian Languages, edited by Jane Simpson, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin, and Barry Alpher, 401–414. Pacific Linguistics 512. Canberra: Australian National University. https://doi.org/10.15144/PL-512.401.

Osgarby, David. 2018. “Verbal Morphology and Syntax of Mudburra: An Australian Aboriginal Language of the Northern Territory.” University of Queensland.


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