Peter Austin peterka at UNIMELB.EDU.AU
Fri Jun 14 10:51:43 UTC 2002

The construction Frans is looking for occurs in a number of
Australian Aboriginal languages, typically coded by a
suffix that attaches to onomatopaeic items or nouns
referring to different kinds of sounds to derive an
intransitive verb, meaning 'produce ...'.
An example is Diyari -nga- (details in my 1981 CUP grammar, don't
have a copy with me so can't give the exact page reference):

Noun            Vi
karta 'clap'    karta-nga  'to clap'
kanpu 'boom'    kanpu-nga  'to boom'
dalji 'rattle'  dalji-nga  'to rattle, produce a rattling sound'

These are not restricted to human or animate subjects, unlike
delocutives based on 'say' in other languages I am aware of.


Prof Peter K. Austin
Dept of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
University of Melbourne
peterka at

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