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The Dynamics of Nominal Classification

Productive and Lexicalised Uses of Gender Agreement in Mawng

The use of grammatical gender in the Australian language Mawng calls into question prevailing ideas about the functions of nominal classification systems. Mawng’s gender system has a strong semantic basis and plays an important role in the construction of meaning in discourse. Gender agreement in verbs is frequently lexicalized, creating idioms called lexicalised agreement verbs that are structurally similar to noun-verb idioms. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in nominal classification or cross-linguistic approaches to idioms.

Author Information

Ruth Singer, University of Melbourne, Australia.


"Through the prism of lexicalised verbal agreement in the Australian Indigenous language Mawng, this book artfully brings together issues of nominal classification, the universality of idioms, and the semantic interplay between verbs and their arguments. The result is a wealth of fascinating data and typological implications that will interest descriptive linguists, typologists and theoreticians alike." Rachel Nordlinger, University of Melbourne "Ruth Singer’s fine book offers interesting data, careful analysis, and challenging insights. It represents a clear step forward in our understanding of the ways in which speakers can use gender systems." Greville Corbett, University of Surrey
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Audience: Linguists; Typologists.