a1 Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex
a2 School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne
It is well known that Australian languages make heavy use of nominal juxtaposition in a wide variety of functions, but there is little discussion in the theoretical literature of how such juxtapositions should be analysed. We discuss a range of data from Australian languages illustrating how multiple nominals share a single grammatical function within the clause. We argue that such constructions should be treated syntactically as set-valued grammatical functions in Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG). Sets as values for functions are well-established in LFG and are used in the representation of adjuncts, and also in the representation of coordination. In many Australian languages, coordination is expressed asyndetically, that is, by nominal juxtaposition with no overt coordinator at all. We argue that the syntactic similarity of all juxtaposed constructions (ranging from coordination through a number of more appositional relations) motivates an analysis in which they are treated similarly in the syntax, but suitably distinguished in the semantics. We show how this can be achieved within LFG, providing a unified treatment of the syntax of juxtaposition in Australian languages and showing how the interface to the semantics can be quite straightforwardly defined in the modular LFG approach.
(Received May 15 2007)
(Revised April 19 2009)
(Online publication September 30 2009)
 This paper results from joint research into coordination strategies in Australian Aboriginal languages funded by a British Academy grant (SG-39545). Earlier versions of this work have been presented at the ALS05 Conference in Melbourne, 2005, and the LFG06 conference in Konstanz, 2006. We thank both audiences for helpful feedback that has led to substantial improvements in the presentation and argumentation, and we are also grateful to two anonymous JL referees for comments and to Avery Andrews, Doug Arnold, Brett Baker and Mary Dalrymple for comments and discussion. Of course, we remain responsible for remaining errors and inadequacies.