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Jorai sentence and phrase structure

Medcalf, Anne-Marie (1989) Jorai sentence and phrase structure. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Jorai is a non written language spoken by 150,000 to 200,000 people living for the most part. in the highlands of central Vietnam. Notwithstanding strong Austroasiatic influences, it is largely accepted that it belongs to the Chamic group of the Western Austronesian family of languages.

The present description of Jorai sentence and phrase structure is based on the examples provided by a transcription of a Jorai myth edited and translated by the French ethnologist Jacques Dournes (1974, 1975), and a set of language lessons published by the Summer Institute of Linguistics and written by Siu Ha Dieu (1976). References are also made to texts pertaining not only to Jorai syntax but also to other Austronesian languages. Because of the small amount of original data considered and the lack of native speaker informants, this study, which largely follows the principles of transformational grammar only intends to be a preliminary description.

Three chapters divide the main body of this work. The first one concerns the three types of Jorai sentence patterns, namely the verbal, the equational and the existential patterns. In each case examples are provided while particular attention is given to the problems of topic ellipsis, word order variation and to the structures arising from the occurence of verbs of existence.

The second chapter is a discussion of the negatives, the passive voice and the moods which may respectively affect the structure of the sentence. The third chapter describes Jorai noun, adjective, adverbial, prepositional and verbal phrases with reference to their components and their possible reduplication and compounding.

The conclusion, finally draws attention to the further areas of research which could perhaps define more closely the links between Jorai and the larger Austronesian family it belongs to.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
Supervisor(s): Mintz, Malcolm
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