Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Anthropological & Descriptive Linguistics Discussion Group

Reconstructing the pertensive suffixes of inalienably possessed nouns in Panim

Monday 30 September 2019
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


The Panim language (pnr) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea has a closed set of ~75 morphologically complex inalienably possessed nouns. These are divided into two groups: kinship terms, with fourteen combinations of pertensive suffix and number, and non-kinship terms (largely body parts), which take only the pertensive suffixes. Panim’s inalienably possessed nouns are extremely irregular: despite the small number of members of this nominal sublcass, there are no fewer than eight lexically determined allomorphs of the 1sg-possessed-singular suffix, and there are ten for the 3sg-possessed-plural suffix. I presents a description of this phenomenon in Panim and reconstruct an earlier form of Panim inalienably possessed noun morphology through comparison with forms from neighboring sister language Amele, for which the cognate inalienably possessed nouns are well documented, congener Bau, for which the congate inalienably possessed nouns are partially described, and newly collected data from Mirkuk (which is currently considered part of Isebe) and Wagi.

About the speaker

Neil Alexander Walker is a Research Fellow at the Language and Culture Research Centre (LCRC) of James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. Dr. Walker’s LCRC research project is a description of the endangered Panim language (pnr) of Madang Province Papua New Guinea, a Papuan language from the Gum group. He is also completing a grammar and lexicon of the extinct Northeastern Pomo language (pef) of Stonyford, California. Dr. Walker wrote a grammar of the recently extinct Southern Pomo language (peq) language for his doctoral thesis at the Unviversity of California, Santa Barbara, and an extensively revised and updated version of this work is being published as A Grammar of Southern Pomo(University of Nebraska Press, expected in 2019). In addition to his work on Panim and Pomoan languages, Dr. Walker is the Vice President of the board for the Western Institute for Endangered Language Documentation, which maintains a Northeastern Pomo project page.
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