Martuthunira language


Martuthunira language
Martuthunira
Spoken in Western Australia
Extinct 6 August 1995 with the death of Algy Paterson.
Language family
Pama–Nyungan
Language codes
ISO 639-3 vma

Martuthunira is an extinct Australian Aboriginal language, that was the traditional language of the Martuthunira people of Western Australia.

The last fluent speaker of Martuthunira, Algy Paterson, died on 6 August 1995. From 1980 he worked with the linguist Alan Dench to preserve Martuthunira in writing, and it is from their work that most of our knowledge of Martuthunira today comes.

Contents

Name

The name Martuthunira, pronounced [maɽʊðʊneɻa] by native speakers, means "those who live around the Fortescue River". It has many spelling variants, including: Maratunia, Mardadhunira, Mardathon, Mardathoni, Mardathoonera, Mardatuna, Mardatunera, Mardudhoonera, Mardudhunera, Mardudhunira, Mardudjungara, Marduduna, Mardudunera, Marduthunira, Mardutunera, Mardutunira, Marduyunira, Martuthinya, and Martuyhunira.

Classification

Martuthunira is classified as a member of the Ngayarta or Ngayarda subgroup of the Southwest Pama–Nyungan languages. Under Carl Georg von Brandenstein's 1967 classification, Martuthunira was classed as a Coastal Ngayarda language, but the separation of the Ngayarda languages into Coastal and Inland groups is no longer considered valid.

Southwest Pama–Nyungan
Ngayarta

Palyku



Panyjima



Ngarla



Nyamal



Jurruru



Yinhawangka



Ngarluma



Kariyarra



Martuthunira



Nhuwala



Yinjibarndi



Kurrama




Kanyara languages



Mantharta languages



Kartu languages



Nyunga languages



Mirniny languages



Wati languages



Marrngu languages



Ngumpin languages



Nannga languages



Yura languages



Phonology

Martuthunira has a fairly standard Australian phonology. R.M.W. Dixon uses it as a prototypical example in his 2002 book Australian Languages: Their nature and development.

Consonants

Peripheral Laminal Apical
Bilabial Velar Palatal Dental Alveolar Retroflex
Stop p k c t ʈ
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n ɳ
Lateral ʎ l ɭ
Rhotic r ɻ
Semivowel w j

The laminal stop /c/ has a voiced allophone [ɟ] between vowels.

Between vowels, the dental stop /t̪/ can become [d̪], [ð], [ð̞], [ɻ], [j], [w], or even simply a syllable break. In some words one particular realization is always used, in others there is free variation.

The alveolar stop /t/ has a voiced allophone [d] after a nasal. It occurs between vowels only in a handful of words, probably all loanwords, where it has a longer period of closure than the other stops [tː].

The retroflex stop /ʈ/ has a voiced allophone [ɖ] after a nasal, and a flapped allophone [ɽ] between vowels.

Besides the voiced allophones mentioned above, stops are usually voiceless and unaspirated.

The laterals have pre-stopped allophones [ᶜʎ ᵗ̪l̪ ᵗl ʈɭ] when they occur in a syllable coda.

The alveolar rhotic /r/ is a tap [ɾ] between vowels, and a usually voiceless trill [r̥] finally.

The palatal semivowel /j/ may be dropped initially before /i/, but the equivalent dropping of /w/ before initial /u/ is rare.

Vowels

Front Back
High i iː u uː
Low a aː

/i/ is usually realized as [ɪ], though it may be realized as [i] near palatal consonants and as [e] near /r/, /n/ or /l/.

/iː/ is realized as [ɪː] in morpheme-initial syllables, [eː] elsewhere.

/u/ is usually realized as [u] in stressed syllables, and [ʊ] in unstressed syllables. /u/ is fronted to varying degrees when near laminal consonants, being most fronted [ʉ] when preceded by a dental consonant. It has an unrounded allophone [ɨ] when followed by /ɻ/.

/uː/ is usually [ʊː], but is lowered to [ɔː] when preceded by a dental consonant.

/a/ is usually [ɐ] when stressed, [ə] when unstressed. Following a laminal consonant, more so after dentals than palatals, it is fronted towards [ɛ]. When preceded by /w/ and followed by a velar consonant, it is realized as [ɒ].

/aː/ is usually simply [ɐː].

Phonotactics

All Martuthunira words begin with one of the following consonants, from most to least frequent: /p k m w ŋ c t̪ j ɲ n̪/. This consists of only peripheral and laminal stops, nasals, and semivowels. Words may end in a vowel, or one of /n r l ɲ ɳ ʎ ɭ/.

Grammar

Accusative alignment

Accusative alignment. A = subject of a transitive verb; S = subject of an intransitive verb; O = object of a transitive verb.

Unlike most Australian languages, which exhibit ergativity, Martuthunira and the other Ngayarta languages have an accusative alignment. That is, the subjects of transitive verbs are treated the same as the subjects of intransitive verbs, while the objects are treated differently.

The Martuthunira nominative case is unmarked (zero). The accusative case, which descends from a suffix that originally marked the dative case, takes the form /-ŋu/ on proper nominals; /-ku/ on common nominals ending in a nasal (/ɲ n ɳ/); /-ju/ on common nominals ending in a lateral or a rhotic (/ʎ l ɭ r/); and vowel lengthening for common nominals ending in vowels. The accusative case is identical to the genitive case, except for common nominals ending in vowels, where the genitive suffix is /-wu/.

Case stacking

Martuthunira exhibits case stacking, where nouns take multiple case suffixes for agreement. For example:

Ngayu nhawulha ngurnu tharnta-a mirtily-marta-a thara-ngka-marta-a.
I saw that euro-ACC joey-PROP-ACC pouch-LOC-PROP-ACC
I saw that euro with a joey in its pouch.
  • Tharnta is the object of the verb, and so is in the accusative case.
  • Mirtily gets a proprietive suffix, which indicates that it is possessed by the euro. However, because it modifies tharnta, it additionally gets an accusative suffix to agree with it.
  • Thara gets a locative suffix, which indicates that it is what the joey is in. It also gets a proprietive suffix to agree with mirtily, and then an accusative suffix to agree with tharnta.

References

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Martuthunira — may refer to: Martuthunira people, a group of indigenous people of Australia Martuthunira language, an extinct indigenous Australian language This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal …   Wikipedia

  • Martuthunira — 1. noun a) An indigenous people of Western Australia. They were separate mobs but they all had the Martuthunira language. b) Their language. 2. adjective Of the Martuthunira or their language. They are called Noanamaronga by the Mardudhunera… …   Wiktionary

  • Martuthunira — Parlée en  Australie Région Australie occidentale Nombre de locuteurs 5 (en 1981)[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martuthunira — /ˈmatuˌtunərə/ (say mahtooh.toohnuhruh) noun 1. an Australian Aboriginal people of a coastal area around and to the south of Dampier, WA. 2. the language of this people. –adjective 3. of or relating to this people or their language …   Australian English dictionary

  • Panyjima language — language name=Banyjima familycolor=Australian states=Australia region=Pilbara region of Western Australia. speakers=50 (as of|1991|lc=on) fam2=Pama Nyungan fam3=Southwest fam4=Ngayarda iso2=aus|iso3=pnwPanyjima is an Australian Aboriginal… …   Wikipedia

  • Ngarla language — Ngarla is a Pama–Nyungan language of Western Australia. Ngarla Spoken in Port Hedland area of Western Australia Native speakers 4  (2010)[1] Language family Pama–Nyungan …   Wikipedia

  • Jurruru language — Jurruru Spoken in Pilbara, Western Australia Extinct 2 speakers left in 1967. No speakers by 1986.[1] Language family Pama–Nyungan …   Wikipedia

  • Yinjibarndi language — Yinjibarndi is a Pama Nyungan language of Western Australia.Yinjibarndi is mutually intelligible with Kurrama, but the two are considered distinct languages by their speakers.ClassificationYindjibarndi is classified as a member of the Ngayarta or …   Wikipedia

  • Algy Paterson — (died 6 August 1995) was the last fluent speaker of the Martuthunira language of Western Australia.Algy s father was a European, which made him eligible to be removed from his family by the authorities under the policy now known as the Stolen… …   Wikipedia

  • Australian Aboriginal kinship — is the system of law governing social interaction, particularly marriage, in traditional Australian Aboriginal culture. It is an integral part of the culture of every Aboriginal group across Australia. Contents 1 The subsection or skin name… …   Wikipedia