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Gravelle, Gilles G. 2001? Meyah morphology and syntax, MAppLing(Hons) thesis, Northern Territory University, Darwin.
    © Gilles G. Gravelle.


Abstract

Meyah is a West Papuan language located in the eastern Bird's Head Peninsula of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Features of Meyah, such as a rigid SVO word order, genitive plus noun order for possessive constructions, and a pronominal system that has an inclusive/exclusive opposition, are generally typical of other West Papuan languages.

Meyah distinguishes the two major word classes, nouns and verbs. Adjectives are a subclass of the verb. Nouns include the two subclasses, inalienable and alienable, and take only a couple of inflectional affixes. Verbs inflect for subject, aspect, instrument, and mode. There is also a circumfix that cross-references the agent and the patient of reciprocal actions. Meyah can use a free pronoun or a clitic to indicate person and number of object. Demonstrative clitics and locative adverb clitics can also be added to verbs.

Minor word classes include adverbs, demonstratives, and prepositions. Locative adverbs and demonstrative pronouns are part of a somewhat complex spatio-deictic system that also includes elevational orientation and distance in relation to the speaker. The core arguments of the verb are the subject and object, which occur before and after the verb, respectively. Non-core arguments are obliques marked by prepositions. Meyah also uses a number of clause-modifying adverbs, such as temporal, aspectual, and modal adverbs. Syntactic constructions include complex clauses involving more than one verb, such as serial verb constructions, causative constructions, and instruments. Dependant structures include relative clauses and complement clauses that involve speech and cognition verbs.




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