Spaced out: Inter-generational changes in the expression of spatial relations by Gurindji people

Meakins, Felicity (2011) Spaced out: Inter-generational changes in the expression of spatial relations by Gurindji people. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 31 1: 43-77. doi:10.1080/07268602.2011.532857

Author Meakins, Felicity
Title Spaced out: Inter-generational changes in the expression of spatial relations by Gurindji people
Journal name Australian Journal of Linguistics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0726-8602
Publication date 2011-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/07268602.2011.532857
Volume 31
Issue 1
Start page 43
End page 77
Total pages 35
Place of publication Abingdon, U.K.
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Gurindji Kriol is a mixed language spoken by Gurindji people at Kalkaringi in northern Australia. It has retained many of the features of Gurindji including case-marking, many other nominal suffixes (inflectional and derivational) and significant portions of vocabulary (including nouns and coverbs). It has also lost many features of Gurindji including inflecting verbs and bound pronouns. Other systems have also been significantly affected by language contact. For example, although the Gurindji cardinal direction system is in evidence, it is greatly reduced both inflectionally and functionally. Where the paradigm of Gurindji cardinals contains 28 inflected forms for each cardinal direction and these are used pervasively to describe large and small-scale space, Gurindji Kriol contains at most four inflected forms for each cardinal direction and they are only used for descriptions of large-scale space. Despite this reduction in the use of Gurindji cardinal directions, Gurindji Kriol has not replaced or supplemented this system with Kriol cardinal terms or with the English left/right system. Instead Gurindji Kriol favours deictic terms and gesture to express spatial relations. Yet deixis and gesture are only useful in so far as the speaker and hearer can see each other. The final part of this paper presents the results of a 'Man and tree' task which was conducted at Kalkaringi with 11 Gurindji Kriol participants and six Gurindji participants. The task was designed specifically to reveal strategies of spatial description in small-scale space where the speaker's and hearer's view of each other is obscured. What emerges from this test is the pervasive use of cardinal directions and the suggestion that the mental map of younger Gurindji people is still based on fixed bearings despite the paucity of cardinal directions in natural discourse.

Keyword Language change
Spatial relations
Gurindji Kriol
Cardinal directions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 16 Jan 2011, 10:09:23 EST by Dr Felicity Meakins on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures