Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Windesi Wamesa Morphophonology
by Gasser, Emily Anne, Ph.D., Yale University, 2014, 334; 3582286
Abstract (Summary)

Wamesa [WAD] is an endangered Austronesian language spoken in the south-eastern Bird's Head of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of West Papua. This dissertation provides a description and formal analysis of the phonology and morphology of the Windesi dialect based on the author's fieldwork with speakers of the language.

Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the language, its speakers, and the cultural, geographic, and linguistic context in which Wamesa is spoken. It also provides background on the fieldwork which forms the basis of this dissertation and the resulting corpus. Chapter 2 describes the phonology of Wamesa, including its phoneme inventory, phonotactics, and productive phonological processes, with phonetic detail. The second half of the chapter gives an account of the phonological adaptation of loan words into Wamesa. Chapter 3 gives a formal analysis of stress assignment in the language based in Optimality Theory. Chapter 4 describes the Wamesa clitics and affixes, and Chapter 5 gives an account of the three major word classes, nouns, verbs, and adjectives, as well as modes of spatial expression and a selection of other minor word classes. Chapter 6 gives a formal synchronic analysis of the infixation of verbal subject agreement affixes in Wamesa, followed by a diachronic account of how the pattern might have arisen from incremental improvements in speech production and perception.

This dissertation provides the first in-depth description of the grammar of Windesi Wamesa, as well as the first formal analysis of its structures. The data presented here will be of interest for typological and historical studies of Austronesian, particularly the understudied South Halmahera-West New Guinea subgroup to which Wamesa belongs. In addition to enriching our understanding of this family, the dissertation presents data and analyses which will be of interest for morphological and phonological theory more narrowly.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bowern, Claire
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Austronesian, Fieldwork, Linguistics, Morphology, Phonology, West Papua
Publication Number: 3582286
ISBN: 978-1-321-61072-7
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