The reflexive construction in Jaminjung/Ngaliwurru

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Jaminjung/Ngaliwurru, a language of the Western subgroup of the Australian
Mirndi family, has a single reflexive construction which is marked by a derivational
affix on the verb; there are no reflexive pronouns in the language. This paper pro-
vides an overview of the formal and functional characteristics of this construction,
in a comparative perspective. Reflexive marking renders a verb morphologically
and syntactically intransitive. Unlike in a number of other Australian languages,
the construction does not have a general detransitivising function. Rather, it is
restricted to encoding both volitional and non-volitional self-directed actions.
Specific subtypes discussed here are actions affecting an inalienable part of the
subject, expressed by means of an external possession construction, and certain
autocausatives of position and spatial arrangement. As is common among languages
of Australia with verbal reflexive marking, the reflexive construction also has a
reciprocal function.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflexive constructions in the world’s languages
EditorsKatarzyna Janic, Nicoletta Puddu, Martin Haspelmath
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherLanguage Science Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-96110-411-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-98554-069-3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameResearch on Comparative Grammar
PublisherLanguage Science Press
ISSN (Print)2749-7801
ISSN (Electronic)2749-781X


  • Argument structure
  • Reflexives
  • Australian languages


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