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Two Notes on Walman

The Walman language of Papua New Guinea has two interesting grammatical features: a conjugated and, and an inflectional diminutive.

Conjugated Conjunction

Walman's verbs have polypersonal agreement on transitive verbs, marking both subject and object. Conjunction is handled with two verb stems, -aro- and <-a-> (subject is a prefix, object is a suffix):

nyue w-aro-n ngan
mother 3SG.F.SUBJ-and-3SG.M.OBJ father
a mother and father

Since verb serialization is already present in Walman, it looks like a verb got grabbed to mean and and got dropped into the serialization chain. There is also a non-conjugated and, which may be used instead of the conjugated form, but seems to be preferred for inanimate constituents and clauses. Interestingly, the Lamaholot language of Indonesia also has an inflecting and, but it can be used to join clauses.

See Verbs for 'And' in Walman for all the glorious details.

Inflectional Diminutive

Walman also has a third person singular diminutive marker which occurs on verbs and adjectives.

Pelen l-aykiri.
dog 3SG.DIMIN-bark
The puppy is barking.

Pelen w-aykiri.
dog 3SG.FEM-bark
The female dog is barking.

Pelen n-aykiri.
dog 3SG.MASC-bark
The male dog is barking.

Pelen y-aykiri.
dog 3SG.PL-bark
The dogs are barking.

The authors of the paper below believe that the diminutive marker was originally a neuter gender.

See Diminutive as an Inflectional Category in Walman for details.


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