Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
Carmel
O'Shannessy
home research publications teaching fieldwork
MAJOR RESEARCH INTEREST:

Documentation of Light Warlpiri, a newly emerged mixed language spoken in the Warlpiri community of Lajamanu, in the Tanami Desert, northern Australia.
Light Warlpiri draws most nouns and nominal structure from Warlpiri, and most verbs and verbal structure from varieties of English and Kriol (an English-lexified Kriol, spoken in the north of Australia).
Listen to a child telling "The Monster Story" in Warlpiri.
Listen to a child telling "The Monster Story" in Light Warlpiri and another here.

Watch a report about how children speak Warlpiri in Lajamanu / Nyirrpi / Willowra / Yuendumu.

Watch a talk about Light Warlpiri given at AIATSIS, Canberra, May 2013
Go to 2013 "Special Seminars held at AIATSIS during Semester 1"

A SELECTION OF MEDIA ATTENTION, 2013
The New York Times
The Huffington Post
Australian Geographic
SBS World News Australia
SELECTED RADIO INTERVIEWS
NPR: All Things Considered
ABC Radio National, Australia: Late Night Live
1290 WLBY: The Lucy Ann Lance Show
The most striking thing about Light Warlpiri is an innovative auxiliary system, which draws on Warlpiri, and varieties of English or Kriol. The auxiliary word shapes are derived from English and Kriol. The meanings and structure have changed, so that the structure of the auxiliary paradigm is not the same as that in any of the source languages. Light Warlpiri has formal modal categories of realis - irrealis, influenced by Warlpiri modal semantics. Some verbs also show innovations, by combining Warlpiri stems with Aboringinal English or Kriol transitive affixes.

In the examples, words in this color are from Warlpiri, and those in this color are from English or Kriol. This color is for the innovative auxiliary system and verbal structure.
Examples of Light Warlpiri:
De-m run back rarralykaji-kirra jarntu an yapa-wat ngapa-kujaku.
'The dog and the people run back to the car to get out of the rain.'

Kala nyarrpara-rla nyuntu-ju yu-m bugi? (C02_7_2)
'But where did you swim?'

Yu-m winjirn-im hap one kuja-ng. (C03_17)
'You spilled half of it, like that.'

Tu karnta-ng dei cheis-ing it dat kuuku jarntu-kurl. (Erg_LA26)
'Two women are chasing the monster, who has the dog.'

The role of children in nativizing and developing Light Warlpiri, and children's acquisition of both Light Warlpiri, and Warlpiri, are particularly interesting.

Young adults and children in Lajamanu are multilingual, as they speak Warlpiri, Light Warlpiri and varieties of English and Kriol.

Address:
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Email: carmelos at umich.edu