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A Grammar of Yakan

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A Grammar of Yakan

Sherri Brainard and Dietlinde Behrens

Yakan, a member of the Sama-Badjaw subgroup of the Malayo-Polynesian family of Austronesian languages, is spoken by about 100,000 people on Basilan Island and nearby areas in the southern Philippines. It is a morphologically ergative language that displays a significant degree of syntactic ergativity. This is the first detailed description of its grammar.

Chapter 1 presents a brief sociolinguistic description of the Yakan people. Chapter 2 describes the phonology of the language. Chapter 3 treats parts of speech. Chapter 4 presents an overview of noun phrases. Chapter 5 describes case marking. Chapter 6 discusses a unique feature of Yakan, the clitic—in which occurs on NPs and signals either definiteness or syntactic requiredness. Chapter 7 contains a comprehensive analysis of thirteen semantic verb classes and their affixes. Chapter 8 discusses verbal morphology, including the suffix—an which functions as a verb classifier, a valence increaser, and an indicator of partial affectedness. Chapter 9 describes nonverbal and verbal clause types. Chapter 10 reviews negation. Chapter 11 covers second-position clitics. Chapter 12, 13, and 14 present tense, aspect, and mood respectively. Chapter 15 discusses a range of syntactic processes, including promotion to direct object, passivization, antipassivization, equi—NP deletion, raising, relativization, clefting, reflexivization, reciprocal action, and a unique process in which the syntactic relation of oblique NPs is altered without involving full promotion to direct object. Chapter 16 treats complex sentences, including complement clause constructions, serial verb constructions, coordinate clause constructions, and subordinate clause constructions. Chapter 17 covers causative constructions. A narrative text illustrating some of these linguistic features is also included.

The grammar is a companion volume to the recently published Yakan-English Dictionary compiled by Dietlinde Behrens, also available from this outlet. A collection of Yakan texts is being prepared for future publication.

xiii, 221pp. ISBN: 971-780-012-X (Linguistic Society of the Philippines Special Monograph Issue, 40:1)

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