Reflexive and Reciprocal Encoding in the Australian Mixed Language, Light Warlpiri

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: O’Shannessy, Carmel; Brown, Connor
Year of Publication: 2021
Journal: Languages
Volume: 6
Pagination: 105
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2226-471X

Mixed languages combine significant amounts of grammatical and lexical material from more than one source language in systematic ways. The Australian mixed language, Light Warlpiri, combines nominal morphology from Warlpiri with verbal morphology from Kriol (an English-lexified Creole) and English, with innovations. The source languages of Light Warlpiri differ in how they encode reflexives and reciprocals—Warlpiri uses an auxiliary clitic for both reflexive and reciprocal expression, while English and Kriol both use pronominal forms, and largely have separate forms for reflexives and reciprocals. English distinguishes person and number in reflexives, but not in reciprocals; the other source languages do not distinguish person or number. This study draws on naturalistic and elicited production data to examine how reflexive and reciprocal events are encoded in Light Warlpiri. The study finds that Light Warlpiri combines near-maximal distinctions from the source languages, but in a way that is not a mirror of any. It retains the person and number distinctions of English reflexives and extends them to reciprocals, using the same forms for reflexives and reciprocals (like Warlpiri). Reflexives and reciprocals occur within a verbal structure (perhaps under influence from Warlpiri). The results show that a mixed language can have discrete contributions from three languages, that the source languages can influence different subsystems to different extents, and that near-maximal distinctions from the source languages can be maintained.

DOI: 10.3390/languages6020105