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Title: A Reference Grammar of Menya, an Angan Language of Papua New Guinea
Authors: Whitehead, Carl R.
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Trans-New Guinea Languages
Menya - Grammar
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: University of Manitoba
Abstract: This thesis presents the morphology and much of the syntax of Menya, which is a Papuan language spoken in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. It is the second most populous of at least twelve languages that constitute the Angan language family, which is, in turn, considered to be a stock-level isolate of the Trans-New Guinea Phylum. With the possible exception of a pedagogical grammar of Kapau, published in 1968, this is the most comprehensive grammar of an Angan language to become readily available to the linguistic world. The grammar is written from a functional and typological perspective and describes the form and function of structures at and below the sentence level. It is based on the analysis of various genre of texts (both oral and written), from which most of the examples are extracted, and includes discourse and pragmatic considerations in explaining the meaning and function of the structures described. The data on which the grammar is based has been gathered during numerous periods of residence in the Menya village of Akwanja since 1975. The main complexities of Menya grammar are in its pronouns, its irrealis modalities and its clause-combining strategies. Whereas the personal pronouns are relatively simple, the demonstrative pronouns are based on seven deictic roots, are inflected for gender, number and person, and are used both as free pronouns and as NP specifiers. There are also dyadic pronouns that refer to specific kin combinations. Most multi-propositional sentences involve the use of distinct (medial) verb forms which agree in person and number with the clause actor, indicate the (dis)continuity of the topical entity via a switch-reference system, and encode various aspects of the relationship that holds between clauses. There are coordinate medial forms distinct from those used in the clause chaining system that is typical of Papuan languages.
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