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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.

ven. 28/09/2018 On automatic creation of lexical semantic questionnaires
ISH, salle Ennat Léger
Conférence de :
  • Denis Paperno (LORIA)
dans le cadre HELAN2

We propose creating questionnaires for lexical typology (in the spirit of Rakhilina and Reznikova 2016) in an automatized fashion. We evaluate our system on questionnaire creation for 'smooth', 'sharp', 'thick', and 'straight' (object features often but not always expressed by adjectives), and perform a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the results. Our algorithm consists of the following steps: 1) extracting a list of frequent phrases, or bigrams, of the form “adjective + noun”; 2) computing a co-occurrence-based vector representation for every noun phrase; 3) clustering the vector space; 4) extracting three core elements from the each cluster while eliminating all clusters containing less than three elements. This algorithm allows revealing semantic oppositions that indeed are typologically relevant. For example, many languages distinguish lexically ‘sharp edges (e.g. knives)’ and ‘sharp points (e.g. arrows)’, having two distinct adjectives with the meaning ‘sharp’: one for the first sense, another for the second one (compare tranchant/aiguisé vs. pointu in French). There is no such distinction in Russian; still, Russsian noun phrases illustrating these context types fall into two different clusters (ostryj nož ‘sharp knife’, ostryj nožik ‘sharp little knife’, ostroje lezvije ‘sharp blade’ vs. ostraja strela ‘sharp arrow’, ostroje kop’ë ‘sharp spear’, ostryj kamen’ ‘sharp stone’).



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