Ngarnka possesses two kinds of verb: inflecting verbs and uninflecting verbs. These two word classes are common in many languages of northern Australia. Inflecting verbs are finite, bear bound pronouns, inflect for tense, aspect and mood, and usually occur in second position. Uninflecting verbs bear only minimal tense inflection (distinguishing non-present tense), and are less distributionally restricted than inflecting verbs, although often occurring clause-initially. Inflecting verbs can constitute an independent predicate in a simple verb construction, whereas uninflecting verbs must occur with an inflecting verb in a light verb construction (although they occur independently in non-finite subordinate clauses). There are only three inflecting verbs in Ngarnka: a general 'do' inflecting verb, a centrifugal locomotion inflecting verb 'go', and a centripetal locomotion inflecting verb 'come'. Examples of inflecting verbs and uninflecting verbs are provided below.
When expressing motion events, sometimes Ngarnka will use a simple verb construction with one of the two locomotion inflecting verbs. However in many cases, a light verb construction will be used with the generic locomotion uninflecting verb yakali 'go', as in the above example. Examples of the locomotion inflecting verbs in simple verb constructions are provided below.
The most common predicate type in Ngarnka is the light verb construction, a structure common in northern Australian languages. The Ngarnka light verb construction involves a finite inflecting verb and a non-finite uninflecting verb. Examples of each of the inflecting verbs in light verb constructions are provided below.
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