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A grammar of Komnzo

Author: Christian Döhler
Subject: Languages
Source: Open Textbook Library
Publisher: Language Science Press
ISBN: 9783961101252
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Komnzo is a Papuan language of Southern New Guinea spoken by around 250 people in the village of Rouku. Komnzo belongs to the Tonda subgroup of the Yam language family/ which is also known as the Morehead Upper-Maro group. This grammar provides the first comprehensive description of a Yam language. It is based on 16 months of fieldwork. The primary source of data is a text corpus of around 12 hours recorded and transcribed between 2010 and 2015. Komnzo provides many fields of future research/ but the most interesting aspect of its structure lies in the verb morphology/ to which the two largest chapters of the grammar are dedicated. Komnzo verbs may index up to two arguments showing agreement in person/ number and gender. Verbs encode 18 TAM categories/ valency/ directionality and deictic status. Morphological complexity lies not only in the amount of categories that verbs may express/ but also in the way these are encoded. Komnzo verbs exhibit what may be called ‘distributed exponence’/ i.e. single morphemes are underspecified for a particular grammatical category. Therefore/ morphological material from different sites has to be integrated first/ and only after this integration can one arrive at a particular grammatical category. The descriptive approach in this grammar is theory-informed rather than theory-driven. Comparison to other Yam languages and diachronic developments are taken into account whenever it seems helpful.

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