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Title: Nalik Grammar (New Ireland, Papua New Guinea)
Authors: Volker, Craig Alan
Keywords: Austronesian Languages
Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian Languages
Nalik - Grammar
Issue Date: 1994
Publisher: University of Hawai'i
Abstract: Nalik is an Austronesian language of central New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. It is spoken by approximately 4,000 persons, all of whom are also fluent in Tok Pisin. This dissertation describes the most salient features of Nalik morphology and syntax. An important characteristic of contemporary Nalik grammar is the variation between constructions used by members of different social groups. Nalik shows morphological differences between transitive and intransitive verbs, the latter including the copula and adjectival verbs. The head of a verb may be preceded by a subject marker, aspect and tense markers, a reciprocal marker, and a habitual marker. The head may be followed by suffixes marking number, transitivity, focus or completion.Noun phrases are headed by a noun or a pronoun. A noun may be preceded by an article, or nonsingular marker. It may be followed by a modifying noun phrase, incorporated adjectival verbs, demonstratives, or possessives. Nalik forms prepositional phrases with five prepositions, which may be preceded by a durative marker. Nalik also has adverbs and conjunctions. Unmarked word order in a simple sentence is subject - verb - direct object, although fronting and clefting occur. Prepositions are often stranded when a head is fronted. In some common constructions elements which normally head arcs terminating in a clause head arcs which terminate in a phrase. These include direct objects which are incorporated into the verb complex, serial and causative verbs constructions, and the use of adjectival verbs to modify a noun. Nouns or verbs which are not clause dependent in these constructions are not preceded by an article or subject marker. Passivization advances direct objects to subjects and requires a participial verb form. Both indirect objects and obliques can advance to direct objects. There is considerable variation between the syntactic constructions used by various speakers of Nalik. Generally, the more innovating speakers are male, younger rather than older, and have low traditional status and orientation. Innovative speakers tend to avoid the passive, to use adjectival verbs and prepositions in a way similar to Tok Pisin and English and not to differentiate alienable and inalienable possession, not to use dual and paucal markers. In part these innovations reflect the fact that Tok Pisin in particular has become the dominant language in an increasing percentage of language domains used by Nalik speakers. They are also the result of the loss of marked grammatical features.
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