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Sabbatical Jean-Christophe Verstraete: Paman languages of Princess Charlotte Bay (northeastern Australia): typology and diachrony

The planned research focuses on the study of Paman (< Pama-Nyungan) languages from Princess Charlotte Bay in north-eastern Australia, from a typological and historical-comparative perspective. In the past five years I have made a number of breakthroughs in the historical-comparative study of these languages, including new evidence for genetic subgrouping (Verstraete 2018a) and a new model for the evolution of phonotactic structure (Verstraete 2018b, 2019a, b, 2020b). A first objective of the sabbatical is to build on this work, including a phonological demonstration of the Middle Paman subgroup (based on data from Verstraete 2020a) and an analysis of the genetic status of Flinders Island and Barrow Point languages (based on data collected recently made available). This will not only contribute to a better understanding of the genetic classification of Pama-Nyungan languages, but also, given the nature of the languages, to more general models of sound change and word structure. A second objective of the sabbatical is laying the foundation for a grammar monograph on Umbuygamu, from a subgroup (Lamalamic) for which little or no morphosyntactic analysis is available as yet. In the last five years I have published two monographs, one grammar (Yintyingka; Verstraete & Rigsby 2015) and one historical-comparative lexicon (Umpithamu; Verstraete 2020a). They continued to build on a longer period of data analysis, of my own field recordings and archive material. Due to a heavy administrative position (membership of the Research Council Office 2019-2021), I have been unable to realize any new data analysis in the past two years. The second part of my sabbatical should enable me to make up for this and lay the groundwork for a monograph on Umbuygamu, which will fill a serious gap in the morphosyntactic knowledge of Pama-Nyungan languages. Results for both objectives would consist of three articles in international journals, and within three years of the sabbatical
a new monograph.

Date:15 Sep 2021 →  14 Feb 2022
Keywords:Paman languages, northeastern Australia, linguistics Princess Charlotte Bay
Disciplines:Linguistic typology, Comparative language studies, Linguistics not elsewhere classified