Murrinhpatha is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in a region of tropical savannah and tidal inlets on the north coast of the continent. Some 3000 speakers live mostly in the towns of Wadeye and Nganmarriyanga, though they maintain close ties to their traditional lands, totems and spirit ancestors. Murrinhpatha word structure is highly complex, and quite distinct from the better-known Pama-Nyungan languages of central and southern Australia. Murrinhpatha is characterised by prolific compounding, clitic clusters, cumulative inflection, irregular allomorphy and phonological assimilation. This book provides a comprehensive account of these phenomena, giving particular attention to questions of morphological constituency, lexical storage, and whether there is really such thing as a ‘word’ unit.
John Mansfield, University of Melbourne, Australia