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Abstract

This study looks at serial verb constructions in two dialects of the Western Desert language of Australia, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara. With a Role and Reference Grammar analysis, the paradigm allows us to look at the constituents for logical structure, and marking of macroroles. We find that core and peripheral argument phrases are marked by case with ergative nominal marking and accusative pronoun marking. Dependent marking is on the phrase level and there is no verb agreement for number, gender or person marking on the verb. Simple verbs use endings for tense, aspect, mood and status. The operator projection shows the nature of linkage between the verbs involved in multi verb structures. There is a serial participle marked on the members of these constructions and a finite verb that is typically clause final. We look at whether these meet the criteria for serial verb constructions and find that in some nuclear cases there is evidence that they do, with sharing of arguments and a single action implied. Serial verbs can form nuclear or clausal cosubordinate nexus junctures.

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