Volume 47, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978



This paper explores the rich diversity in structural possibilities that are available for (simple) nominal expressions in Australian languages. First, I identify a number of construction types found across a 50 language sample, which may be recognised by using a restricted set of parameters. I show that an important factor is whether a given parameter (such as word order) is generalised or displayed only by some word classes. Second, I develop a four-way typology based on how the construction types cluster in individual languages. Two types are described to some extent in the literature, but I provide a more detailed characterisation: one mostly has flexible, non-phrasal expressions and the other mostly rigid noun phrases. The other two types have not been described as such. One mostly has flexible phrases, which combine internal flexibility with phrasal case marking, and the other has distinct construction types depending on the type of modifier.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Australian Aboriginal languages; nominal expressions; noun phrase; typology
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