Northwest Solomonic


Ooe Kokota ('Kokota talk') is spoken in three villages on the island of Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands. Its speakers now number probably in excess of 900. It is an Oceanic language within theAustronesian family, belonging to the North-West Solomonic subgrouping. 

This dissertation is the result of field research carried out on Santa Isabel between 1994 and 1998. It presents an overview of the grammar of the language, including its phonology, and its phrase, clause and sentence level syntax. Particular attention has been paid to a number of areas of interest in the grammar. 

The stress regime is complex with substantial irregularity, variation between and within speakers, and changes in progress. These changes include a shift from a regime based on moraic trochees to one based on syllabic trochees; and the regularisation of irregularities resulting from the prosodic shadow of lost morphological complexity. A discussion of this comprises the bulk of a chapter on stress and prosody. 

The system of possession also comprises a chapter on its own. One form of inalienable possession exists, and two of alienable (consumable and general). The relationship between these categories andnominals is semantically driven, not syntactically, with any nominal potentially occurring with any category, depending on the semantic context. 

Argument structure is a further area receiving special attention, particularly the assignment of argument indexing in the verb complex. This operates on the basis of a hierarchy of semantic roles. One result of the system is the coreferential assignment of both preverbal agreement (typically indexing actors) and postverbal agreement (typically indexing undergoers) to a single argument, anexperiencer, regardless of the presence of other core arguments in the clause. 

Like many Oceanic languages, Kokota has limited morphological complexity. Consequently aspects of the morphology are discussed in conjunction with other areas of the grammar to which they relate syntactically or functionally.