Suter, Edgar (2018). Comparative morphology of the Huon Peninsula languages (Papua New Guinea). PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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The Huon Peninsula languages are a family of Papuan languages spoken in the northeast of the island of New Guinea. The family comprises 21 languages. One of them, Kovai, is not spoken on the Huon Peninsula but on Umboi Island in the Vitiaz Strait, which separates New Guinea from New Britain. In this dissertation, the Huon Peninsula languages are compared to each other with the aim of reconstructing the commonly inherited morphology. The verb is rich in morphology, showing prefixes as well as suffixes. The prefixes occur on a small closed class of verbs and index the person and number of the object referent. About two dozen verbs with object prefixes can be reconstructed to various subfamilies and five of them to the top-level family. The verb suffixes index the person and number of the subject referent and express tenses or moods. Partial paradigms for five tenses and moods can be reconstructed to Proto-Huon Peninsula and several more to the subfamilies. As in many other language families, the personal pronouns are stable so that all forms can be reconstructed. Other pronouns that lend themselves to reconstruction are the possessive affixes and basic as well as elevational demonstratives. In the nominal domain, the Huon Peninsula languages share six types of case enclitic, three of which can be reconstructed to the top-level family. Apart from reconstructing aspects of the proto-languages of the languages compared, the dissertation also sheds light on processes of language contact that have shaped them.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Suter, Edgaresut@sunrise.chUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-97577
Date: 13 December 2018
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Institut für Linguistik
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Papuan languagesEnglish
historical linguisticsEnglish
comparative methodEnglish
Date of oral exam: 5 December 2018
NameAcademic Title
Himmelmann, Nikolaus P.Prof. Dr.
Hill, EugenProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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