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Null Subjects, Switch-Reference, and Serialization in Jabem and Numbami

Null Subjects, Switch-Reference, and Serialization in Jabem and Numbami IN JABÊM AND NUMBAMI JOEL BRADSHAW university of hawai`i Analysis of null vs. overt subject NPs over successive clauses in texts from Numbami and Jabêm, two Austronesian languages of Papua New Guinea with rich subject-agreement morphology and rich verb serialization, reveals that optional null subjects normally signal subject retention across clauses while optional overt subjects signal switches. Comparison of these discourse-level switch-reference systems with clause-level verb serialization in the same languages, and with morphological switch-reference systems in neighboring Papuan languages and distant Austronesian languages reveals considerable functional overlap between canonical switch-reference systems and canonical verb-serialization systems, but with null subject NPs signaling similar types of continuity in both systems. Optional null subjecthood marks not just subject continuity across successive clauses at the discourse level, but also actor continuity, just as obligatory null subjecthood on noninitial verbs marks continuity of actors, patients, and other thematic roles across successive serialized verbs at the clause level. 1. INTRODUCTION. This study examines the occurrences of null vs. overt initial subject NPs in successive clauses in texts from Jabêm and Numbami, two Austronesian languages of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. Both languages are SVO and have rich and uniform systems of pre²xes that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oceanic Linguistics University of Hawai'I Press

Null Subjects, Switch-Reference, and Serialization in Jabem and Numbami

Oceanic Linguistics , Volume 38 (2) – Dec 1, 1999

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © by University of Hawai'i Press
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1527-9421
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Abstract

IN JABÊM AND NUMBAMI JOEL BRADSHAW university of hawai`i Analysis of null vs. overt subject NPs over successive clauses in texts from Numbami and Jabêm, two Austronesian languages of Papua New Guinea with rich subject-agreement morphology and rich verb serialization, reveals that optional null subjects normally signal subject retention across clauses while optional overt subjects signal switches. Comparison of these discourse-level switch-reference systems with clause-level verb serialization in the same languages, and with morphological switch-reference systems in neighboring Papuan languages and distant Austronesian languages reveals considerable functional overlap between canonical switch-reference systems and canonical verb-serialization systems, but with null subject NPs signaling similar types of continuity in both systems. Optional null subjecthood marks not just subject continuity across successive clauses at the discourse level, but also actor continuity, just as obligatory null subjecthood on noninitial verbs marks continuity of actors, patients, and other thematic roles across successive serialized verbs at the clause level. 1. INTRODUCTION. This study examines the occurrences of null vs. overt initial subject NPs in successive clauses in texts from Jabêm and Numbami, two Austronesian languages of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. Both languages are SVO and have rich and uniform systems of pre²xes that

Journal

Oceanic LinguisticsUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 1, 1999

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