Reflexive constructions in Kuuk Thaayorre

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Kuuk Thaayorre is an Aboriginal language of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Self-directed events may be described by a number of distinct Kuuk Thaayorre constructions, which may include one or more of the following forms: a reflexive voice sufx on the verb (-e); a reciprocal voice sufx on the verb (-rr);a reflexive pronoun, a self-intensifier pronoun; or an inherently reflexive verb. Al- ternatively, overt marking of reflexivity may be absent, with the self-directedness of the event left to inference. In addition to providing an overview of the various forms of reflexive marking in Kuuk Thaayorre, this chapter surveys the range of event types encoded by these forms. For example, the verbal reflexivizer often sig- nals that multiple argument roles map to the subject argument, whether agent + patient, agent + beneficiary, agent + causer, and more. In many cases, it is only a subset (e.g. a body part) or the agent-subject that is acted upon, so the coreference of agent and patient roles is incomplete. In other cases, reflexive forms are used to signal the subject argument’s heightened involvement in and/or affectedness by the event, whether or not they are agent of that event. Lastly, just as reciprocal morphology is found in the description of some reflexive events, so too is the ver- bal reflexivizer employed to describe some reciprocal events. This curious pattern of polyfunctionality may find its origins in the deep history of these forms; the final section of this chapter considers possible cognates and the semantic ranges of reflexive forms across the Pama-Nyungan family and the Australian continent more broadly
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflexive constructions in the world’s languages
EditorsKatarzyna Janic, Nicoletta Puddu, Martin Haspelmath
Place of PublicationBerlin Germany
PublisherLanguage Science Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783961104116
ISBN (Print)9783985540693
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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