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Light Warlpiri - UniLang

Light Warlpiri

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vijayjohn
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Light Warlpiri

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-21, 4:32

Light Warlpiri is (arguably) a mixed language spoken in Lajamanu, Australia, formed from Warlpiri (a Pama-Nyungan language), Australian Kriol/Aboriginal English, and Australian English. It is spoken within the Warlpiri community of Lajamanu, where it is considered a variety of Warlpiri and apparently developed out of code-switching patterns within the Warlpiri-speaking community. It was in the news not too long ago, where journalists seemed to suggest it was a language that had just been discovered, even though the first paper on it came out at least nine years ago. I found the earliest paper on it that I know of, namely this one: http://languages-linguistics.unimelb.ed ... rlpiri.pdf. I expect that paper to be my starting point for learning Light Warlpiri.

There are not too many differences between Lajamanu Warlpiri and the variety/ies of Warlpiri documented in linguistic literature. However, in the latter varieties, the ergative markers -ngki and -ngku and locative marker -ngka occur only on disyllabic word stems, whereas longer stems instead take -rli, -rlu, and -rla respectively. In Lajamanu Warlpiri, the forms beginning with "ng" occur on longer stems, too. Also, there are phonotactic differences; for example, Warlpiri normally does not allow word-final consonants, but Lajamanu Warlpiri drops word-final -u and -i in some words, and Light Warlpiri follows the same phonotactic rules as Lajamanu Warlpiri with words that come from Warlpiri.

Light Warlpiri words are sometimes from Kriol, e.g. bugi 'wash' ("bogey" in Kriol; this term comes from another Pama-Nyungan language and was commonly used in Australian English in the 50s, too) and sometimes from English with some Warlpiri or Kriol phonology, e.g. uuju 'horse' ([s] often changes to [tʃ] in Kriol, as I'd already learned when I started to study it).

vijayjohn
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Re: Light Warlpiri

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-08-26, 8:29

Syllables are often deleted from possessive forms in Lajamanu Warlpiri (and Light Warlpiri). For example, the pronoun nyuntu-nyangu (you-POSS) becomes nyun-nyang, and the possessive case marker -kurlangu becomes -kang. The determiner yinya 'there' becomes inya. The velar-initial ergative marker may have any of the forms -ngku, -ngu, or -ng (what about -ngki or -ngi?). Malju 'young man' becomes malyu, and wirlinyi 'hunting' becomes wirlinyji. In some words (and in baby talk, apparently), rhotics become semivowels, e.g. the diminutive suffix -pardu > -pawu and the inchoative verbal suffix -jarrimi > -jayimi.

And finally, here's a story in Light Warlpiri told by an 8-year-old child from Lajamanu and recorded by Carmel O'Shannessy, who's the author of that paper! Cool, huh? :D There are a couple of words of Warlpiri I've learned just from this video, namely jarntu 'dog' and kuuku 'monster':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRMWHKtWY6o

vijayjohn
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Re: Light Warlpiri

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-11-29, 2:34

Unlike English, Warlpiri is ergative-absolutive (although pronouns follow nominative-accusative alignment), and word order is free; I already knew all that. What I didn't know is that it "has a cross-referencing pronominal system, hosted by an auxiliary base" (from p. 36 of O'Shannessy); this is also the first paper where I've seen the author admit that there are pragmatically preferred word orders in Warlpiri. Light Warlpiri uses SVO word order like English and Kriol (or at least this is the unmarked word order in Light Warlpiri), but subject and object NPs can be dropped (as in Warlpiri), and ergative case-marking occurs though usually only on NPs that come from Warlpiri.

It looks like the Light Warlpiri verbal system is mostly like that of Kriol. However, the suffix -bat is not nearly as common in Light Warlpiri as in Kriol, and there are some Warlpiri verb roots, all of which take the Kriol transitive suffix -im, which is reduced to -m (and which can change verb valency in Light Warlpiri).

Anyway, here's a new word that occurs both in that video I posted last time and in this paper: karnta-pawu 'girl'.


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